Where’s the fire?! There are no good excuses for speeding.

Published on
March 1, 2024
Parking, roads, traffic and transit

Feature story

A fire truck may fly by you on the way to saving lives.  But when you speed, the opposite is true – you are risking lives.

Bearded Ottawa Police Service officer talking beside a stopped vehicle in the winter. Courtesy of Ottawa Police Service./Un agent du Service de police d’Ottawa, qui a une barbe, discute à côté d’un véhicule arrêté en hiver. Fournie par la Service de Police d'Ottawa
Photo courtesy of Ottawa Police Service / Photo par le Service de Police d'Ottawa

Those few seconds possibly saved by speeding could have tragic consequences for you and other road users. From 2017 to 2021, 209 drivers were involved in fatal and major injury collisions in Ottawa related to speed and aggressive driving.

If you’re caught at 60km/h in a posted 40km/h zone, the fine will be $150 with three demerit points. If you’re caught travelling 100km/h in a posted 60km/h zone, you’re looking at $480 with four demerit points. Add active construction, a community safety zone or a school zone and the fines increase sharply with every kilometre over the posted speed limit.

If your speed or another aggressive behaviour is considered stunt driving, the consequences are increasingly severe. This includes an immediate 30-day license suspension, 14-day vehicle seizure and, upon conviction, fines up to $10,000, six demerit points, a mandatory driver improvement course and up to three-year license suspension.

Your likelihood of a crash and the severity of injuries is directly related to speed. According to the World Health Organization, every one per cent increase in speed creates a three per cent increase in the serious crash risk and a four per cent increase in the fatal crash risk.

But the data doesn’t show the people whose lives were lost or devastated by these avoidable collisions. Every road user is someone's family member, friend or loved one.

Other aggressive driving behaviours that likewise have no valid excuses include:

  • Running a red light
  • Sliding through a stop sign
  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Unsafe turns
  • Failing to yield the right of way
  • Following too closely
  • Failing to stop for school buses and crossing guards


Countermeasures to reduce aggressive driving

The City has a number of countermeasures it can apply to discourage speeding and other aggressive driving behaviours. On major roads, this includes narrower lanes and roundabouts. In residential areas, we have implemented speed bumps or humps (which are less aggressive), narrowed streets, and curb extensions. You can find details of countermeasures for the coming year on our 2024 Implementation Plan webpage.


Automated speed enforcement works

 Ottawa’s automated speed enforcement cameras are improving road safety:

  • 200 per cent increase in compliance with the speed limit
  • 72 per cent decrease in drivers traveling at 15 km/h or more over the speed limit
  • 11 per cent decrease in 85th percentile speed which is the speed at which 85 per cent of traffic is travelling or below

Revenue from speed camera fines is entirely reinvested into the City of Ottawa’s Road Safety Action Plan program, which applies education, enforcement and engineering measures, like those mentioned above, to promote road safety.

The City of Ottawa continues to add automated speed enforcement cameras to locations identified through screening and evaluation criteria that includes speeding and collision history and pedestrian use.

Did you know that you can request enforcement of speed limits or report unsafe drivers? To do so, submit a traffic complaint online to the Ottawa Police Service.

The ultimate goal of all these measures is to foster a city-wide culture of road safety so that drivers follow the posted speed limits everywhere. Keep your hard-earned money in your pocket and keep all road users safe.

For more information on City programs and services, visit ottawa.ca, call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401) or 613-580-2400 to contact the City using Canada Video Relay Service. You can also connect with us through FacebookTwitter and Instagram.