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Dangerous driving 

Street racing, speeding, distracted driving and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol are all extremely dangerous activities that can cause serious accidents, injuries and even death for those involved. Sadly, this is often true for innocent bystanders as well. If you witness any of these activities in your neighbourhood, or if you know one of these is going to take place, call the police.

The City of Ottawa’s Safer Roads Ottawa Program is a partnership between Ottawa Public Health, Ottawa Police Service, Public Works and community road safety partners. The groups work together to:

  • increase public awareness
  • promote safe behaviours on the road
  • establish road safety programs
  • put in place enforcement initiatives

Distracted driving

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation says 20 percent of car accidents are caused by distracted drivers. Between 2006 and 2008, driver distraction was the cause (either fully or partially) of nearly 5,500 traffic collisions in Ottawa, resulting in 1,938 injuries and eight deaths.

Since 2009, the use of hand-held communications and entertainment devices while driving has been banned in Ontario. The Ottawa Police Service’s message to the public? Distractions Impair!  Driving requires your full attention.

Visit the City of Ottawa website for more information.

Driving under the influence

Despite years of awareness campaigns, the problem of impaired driving continues to persist. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) estimates that three to four people in Canada are killed each day in accidents involving drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you witness an impaired driver on the road (or getting behind the wheel), call 9-1-1. For more information about impaired driving, visit the MADD website.


Penalties for regular speeding are generally lower than street racing. If you’re driving well over the posted speed limit, you can face serious fines and demerit points on your driver’s license.

The Ministry of Transportation website offers more information about the number of demerit points for different speeding offences.

You can also find out more about speeding, street racing and other traffic issues on the Ottawa Police website.

Street racing

The Ottawa Police Service takes street racing seriously, and the consequences can be severe. Drivers who participate in street racing will face:

  • An immediate seven-day license suspension.
  • A seven-day vehicle impoundment, regardless of whether the offender owns the vehicle or not.

If convicted, offenders will face:

  • A minimum fine between $200 and $2,000 and a maximum fine of up to $10,000.
  • A court-ordered license suspension, which is two years for a first conviction and 10 years for a second conviction.

Individuals who drive more than 50 km/h above the posted speed limit are considered to be racing, or performing a stunt and are subject to all of the above penalties.