Toronto Police are issuing way less speeding tickets than they used to
Despite growing frustration due to reckless driving and increasing cyclist and pedestrian fatalities, it turns out Toronto Police are handing out far less tickets than they did in the previous decade.
According to exclusive new data obtained by the Toronto Star, police issued exactly 140,000 less speeding tickets last year than they did 10 years prior.
"Speeding. Blowing through a stop sign. Passing a streetcar while its doors are open.— Matt Galloway (@mattgallowaycbc) December 11, 2019
A Toronto driver is far less likely to get a ticket for any of these risky moves now than they were a decade ago."https://t.co/wsDifiVVhq
By analyzing relevant tickets issued in Ontario between 2009 and 2018, as recorded by the provincial Ministry of the Attorney General, the Star found that on top of far less speeding tickets, police also issued 44 per cent less careless driving charges.
There was also a 93 per cent drop in charges for making an unsafe left turn at an intersection (7,000 less tickets than 10 years earlier).
Toronto police recently admitted to ticketing far less drivers in the past few years, emphasizing the need for a new, dedicated traffic enforcement squad.
According to the Star, the overall drop in traffic tickets resulted in a total of 234,000 fewer tickets issued last year than in 2009.
Unsurprisingly, collision and fatality rates haven risen along with the decrease in enforcement. According to city data, there were 66 traffic-related fatalities in 2018, compared with 48 in 2009. A total of 56 road users have been killed in traffic-related incidents so far in 2019.
Toronto police traffic services Supt. Scott Baptist told the Star that many factors contributed to the decline in enforcement, including increased focus on "intelligence-led" tactics aimed at changing people's behaviour, a new records system that allows for provincial offences tickets to be issued electronically and a hiring freeze.
"..Peel police issued about 10 per cent fewer tickets between 2009 and 2018, the same period that Toronto police enforcement fell by two-thirds." https://t.co/xQOReg6Nx8— David Rider (@dmrider) December 11, 2019
The Star also found that tickets from red-light cameras increased substantially in recent years, with 149 cameras installed throughout the city — though it still didn't make up for the drop in police-issued tickets.
In their analysis, the Star discovered that tickets for using a hand-held device while driving, for pedestrians crossing the street outside a crosswalk and for passing a streetcar’s open doors have all dropped significantly as well.
On top of that, they found that the Toronto Police Service charged the least amount of drivers with a criminal offence last year than in any year since amalgamation.
New funding for a dedicated enforcement team, titled the Vision Zero enforcement team — after the city's plan to attain zero collision-related injuries and fatalities — was approved last month.
Police Chief Mark Saunders has said he believes this will help curb the issue of increasing collisions (and subsequent fatalities) as well as improve the level of traffic enforcement in Toronto — though advocates remain sceptical.
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