Ontario "Street Racing" Legislation Overreaches

The Ontario, Canada, Ministry of Transportation introduced legislation (Bill 241) that would ban certain automotive parts, substances and equipment that the Ministry claims are used in street racing. The bill is primarily directed at equipment that boosts engine performance, most notably nitrous oxide.

Under the measure, regulations would be issued prescribing specific substances, parts and equipment covered under the ban. The regulations would also designate certain classes of persons or vehicles as exempt from the law and regulations. The bill provision of specific concern reads: "No person shall drive or permit to be driven on a highway a motor vehicle with a prescribed part containing a prescribed substance or equipped with prescribed equipment in prescribed circumstances."

The biggest concern is that this language is purposely vague and could consequently result in the ban or limitation of a range of speed equipment. If signed into law as currently drafted, this language would allow Ontario authorities to write regulations not only for nitrous oxide equipment, but also for other "prescribed equipment" vaguely related to street racing.

Hobbyists are already familiar with this type of poorly drafted legislation. Recent Nebraska legislation intending to eliminate nitrous oxide equipment was written so broadly that it could have also eliminated any product that boosted horsepower (superchargers, turbochargers, etc.). SEMA was successful in negotiating favorable compromise language to the Nebraska bill that only requires nitrous lines to be disconnected when a vehicle is operated on public highways. Our language also ensures that other power booster equipment remains legal.

Ontario's Legislative Assembly reconvenes in mid-March at which time the bill will be considered. SEMA will work directly with the Ontario Transportation Ministry and the Ontario legislature to kill or mitigate this provision. We are also working with Canadian aftermarket associations to coordinate opposition and will rely on our growing Canadian SEMA Action Network presence, Canadian SEMA members and related U.S. companies to apply grassroots pressure as necessary.