AN 18-year-old Canadian man could face jail time for dangerous driving after being clocked by police at a speed of 308km/h.
Noah Lauricella was at the wheel of his father’s Mercedes-AMG C63 at 10pm on Saturday night in Burlington, Ontario, when his speed was recorded by an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) LIDAR device. Lauricella was accompanied by a 19-year-old passenger.
OPP Sergeant Terry Schmidt took to multiple social media accounts the following day to provide details of the incident.
“This is the fastest speed that I’ve ever heard of,” Schmidt said in a 14-minute Periscope video. “The driver was obviously taken off the road immediately. This is absolutely egregious. Driving your dad’s car, coming back from a cruise with your buddies and opening it up to see what it is capable of doing is beyond words.”
Local laws mean that anyone caught engaging in street racing or stunt driving is subject to an immediate seven-day licence suspension – and their car or bike is impounded for seven days, regardless of who owns the vehicle.
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Under the same local laws, Lauricella faces fines of up to $10,000, licence suspension of up to two years and a maximum of six months in jail. And that’s if this is his first offence – second offences within 10 years can see suspensions of up to 10 years imposed.
On top off all that is a criminal charge of dangerous driving, which has a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison.
Ontario appears to have an ongoing problem with over-the-top speeding. “We have charged about 150 people with street racing since 1 May; that’s just in the Toronto region by the OPP,” Schmidt said. “We’re taking about 15 cars off the road each day for this exact offence – for street racing or stunt driving.”
In April, a Dodge Challenger Hellcat driver was charged after blowing a tyre at a seat-puckering 271km/h.
Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act talks about ‘races’, ‘contests’ and ‘stunts’. The most common definition of a stunt is any speed that is 50km/h more than the speed limit, but also includes lifting one or more tyres from the surface of the highway; losing traction; spinning in a circle; driving with a person in the boot of the vehicle; driving a motor vehicle while not sitting in the driver’s seat; preventing other vehicles from passing; and intentionally driving too close to another vehicle, pedestrian or fixed object.
The definition of a race or a contest is fairly straightforward, but applies to single as well as multiple vehicle incidents.
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation website also notes that the use of connected nitrous oxide systems while driving on a highway is prohibited.
While some in the media have suggested that the speedsters are taking advantage of quieter roads as the result of COVID-19, the problem goes back much further, with the OPP charging more than 300 people with street racing in both May 2018 and May 2019. Those figures only account for Ontario’s 400-series highway network, and doesn’t include local roads.