Ontario police can't seem to stop people from stunt driving amid the pandemic
Incidents of dangerous stunt driving have been consistently rising in Ontario since the pandemic began, and police are still making arrests and warning that the risky behaviour needs to stop.
Overnight, York Regional Police impounded nine vehicles after each motorist was caught driving in excess of 50 kilometres per hour over the speed limit.
"High speeds on relatively empty York Region roads continue to be a problem. From March 1, 2020, through to May 11, 2020, officers laid 306 charges for stunt driving for vehicles travelling in excess of 50 kilometres per hour over the speed limit, versus 149 charges during the same time period in 2019," York Regional Police wrote on Facebook.
"Speed kills. Police are urging drivers to slow down and obey posted speed limits."
An uncomfortable #MothersDay for this 16-yr-old driver. Listen as our officer calls mom to advise that her vehicle will be impounded for 7 days for stunt driving. This is one of 306 vehicles we've impounded for stunt driving since March 1st. https://t.co/fJCVRLY19A#CRSW2020 pic.twitter.com/tjwPH3ncxj— York Regional Police (@YRP) May 12, 2020
Police across the province have been echoing similar sentiments since March and several high-profile incidents — such as a driver doing donuts in Yonge and Dundas Square and a teenager driver 308 km/h on the QEW — have brought even more attention to the issue.
Still, the problem persists.
According to OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt, stunt driving charges are up about 30 per cent this year compared to last year, and approximately 1,200 to 1,300 vehicles have been impounded since the start of 2020 in Toronto and the GTA.
"Right now I can tell you, in the province of Ontario on OPP patrol roads, speeding and aggressive driving-related fatalities are the number one killer in the province in terms of road crash causal factors," he said in a video posted to Twitter Tuesday.
"We see people dying because of impaired driving, distracted driving and aggressive driving, people not wearing their seatbelts. But of all those four categories, speeding-related fatalities is the number one killer. So, all I can tell you is, keep in mind how you're sharing the road responsibly with others. Your actions can have a direct impact on other drivers around you."
Between May 4 and 11 alone, OPP officers charged 73 people with street racing and another 18 with impaired driving.
73 #StreetRacing/Aggressive driving and 18 #ImpairedDriving charges in the #GTA by the #OPP - May 4-11, 2020— OPP Highway Safety Division (@OPP_HSD) May 11, 2020
Bina SOOKHAI, 28 – Mississauga - #ImpairedDriving, #Impaired – 80 Plus
Jermaine DALLAS, 37 – Brampton - #ImpairedDriving, #Impaired – 80 Plus#OPPStats pic.twitter.com/c2jloG8v3a
Toronto police have reported similar increases, as have other regional police forces across the province.
Yesterday also marked the beginning of Canada Road Safety Week, a seven-day national public education campaign designed to increase public compliance with safe driving measures in order to save lives and reduce road-related injuries and fatalities.
"The focus of Canada Road Safety Week continues to be on behaviours like impaired driving, distracted driving, and aggressive driving, which put drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and other vulnerable road users at risk," notes a release from Peel Regional Police.
"Canada Road Safety Week is an initiative that is part of a national effort to help advance Canada's Road Safety Strategy 2025 to make Canada's roads the safest in the world."
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