Toronto street racing

Tow truck drivers charged with street racing near Toronto and people have had enough

Four tow truck drivers were charged with street racing on Hwy. 401 near Toronto on Saturday and residents are fed up.

The OPP Highway Enforcement Team took to Twitter to explain that the trucks, which were from three different companies, had been racing each other, driving on the shoulder of the road, cutting off other vehicles and passing dangerously. The OPP pulled the trucks over near Hwy 25 in Milton.

Sadly, this is not new behaviour. Street racing and stunt driving has been a point of contention for Torontonians since the pandemic began.

Police laid 796 stunt driving charges in Toronto between March 1 and Dec. 31, 2020. This amounts to an increase of 222 per cent over the same period in 2019, according to authorities. 

"At the start of this pandemic, our roads (saw) a significant decrease in traffic levels but unfortunately many drivers took these open roads as an invitation to put their foot down on the gas pedal," said Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney during a press conference earlier this year.

In response to the growing scourge of street racing during the pandemic, Peel Regional Police launched six street race facilitators from all over the GTA in October. Ontario also introduced new road safety legislation in April.

Though the province is taking the necessary steps, some residents still don't think the increased penalties are harsh enough. 

Many have also called out tow trucks for their dangerous driving, particularly on the 401. 

The new provincial legislation was passed in June, bringing more severe penalties for stunt racing for offenders.

Other changes included a license suspension increase from seven days to 30 days and vehicle impoundment is now 14 days; it was previously seven. Street racing is now deemed as 40 km/h over the limit. If convinced, fines can range from $200 to $10,000. 

This isn't the first time tow truck drivers have faced controversy this year—and it certainly isn’t the harshest.

In May, Toronto police laid nearly 200 charges, including first-degree murder and the seizure of more than 40 illegal firearms, against members of groups working within the towing industry that police say were linked to organized crime. 

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