Police say that dangerous stunt driving and street racing have escalated in the GTA, and they are now seeking the public’s assistance in reporting these dangerous incidents.
At a news conference Thursday, reps from GTA police forces discussed the results of a 2022 street racing elimination program called Project E.R.A.S.E. (Eliminate Racing Activity on Streets Everywhere). First established in 1999, the campaign is a collaboration between Peel Regional Police, Barrie Police, Durham Regional Police, Halton Regional Police, Hamilton Police, Ontario Provincial Police, Toronto Police, Waterloo Regional Police and York Regional Police.
During the news conference, Matt Moyer, the Acting Superintendence from Toronto police told media that there has been a 31 per cent increase in calls related to Toronto stunt driving. He added that in Toronto alone, 521 charges related to unsafe driving have already been filed this year, in addition to 1,106 charges in 2022.
“Street races do not acknowledge jurisdictional boundaries. They move through freely through neighbourhoods without concern or thought for public safety,” said Peel Regional Police Deputy Chief Marc Andrews.
According to the police, Peel has seen over 4,000 charges laid for street racing and stunt driving since 2018, with approximately 500 of those occurring in the first five months of this year.
In light of this, law enforcement is urging the public to report any instances of stunt driving. Andrews emphasized, “If you witness multiple vehicles congregating for racing purposes or observe racing in progress, please contact road safety services.”
Acting Deputy Chief of York Regional Police, Wallace Gossen, spoke about the importance of the community as their most valuable resource in combating street racing. Similar to Andrews, he urged civilians to report any instances of street racing they witness.
In the summer of 2021, new legislation was introduced, which saw the province take a tough stance on stunt driving. Under the Moving Ontarians More Safely Act, drivers received stricter penalties for unsafe driving, and if charged, could face penalties including a 30-day driver’s licence suspension.