The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that excessive speeding can amount to dangerous driving, even if the speeding is for a short period of time.
When it comes to dangerous driving, the question courts have struggled with is how bad does someone’s driving have to be before it attracts criminal sanction and consequences as opposed to purely civil consequences? This is a question of degree. We all make mistakes and do dangerous things when we drive. We speed, sometimes excessively, and make bad decisions, like speeding up instead of slowing down when the light turns yellow. Every time we change lanes without doing a shoulder check it’s potentially dangerous to other drivers. But not all of us are charged with or convicted of dangerous driving under the Criminal Code of Canada when we engage in these behaviours. Normally we are issued a motor vehicle violation ticket which can be challenged in traffic court. For good reason, the courts have been concerned not to cast the net of criminal dangerous driving too wide. Not all of our bad, or even dangerous driving behaviour, should result criminal sanctions. However, the recent case from the Supreme Court of Canada in R v. Chung 2020 SCC 8 signals that the net of driving behaviours captured by the offence of criminal dangerous driving is indeed wider than previously believed.