OPP laid more than 300 street-racing charges on 400-series highways in May

More than 300 GTA drivers had their licences suspended and cars impounded over allegations they were street racing in the month of May, Ontario Provincial Police said.

According to statistics released Monday, 304 drivers were charged with street racing on 400-series highways in the Greater Toronto Area last month. Another 109 drivers were charged with impaired driving.

A motorist can be charged with street racing when they are clocked doing at least 50 kilometres per hour over the posted speed limit. This year alone, OPP officers have caught some drivers doing well over 200 km/h.

“The fact is that aggressive driving is the number one killer on our highways right now,” OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt told CBC Toronto on Tuesday morning.

“Speeding is a very dangerous activity, especially if you’re involved in a collision. The faster you go the more serious your injuries are going to be if you wreck.”

Schmidt noted that the force’s highway safety division covers only the 400-series highways throughout the GTA. The numbers will be higher when factoring in statistics from municipal police forces, he said.

The penalty for street racing is an automatic seven-day driver’s licence suspension, and the motorist’s car is also impounded for seven days. Penalties in court can total a fine of up to $10,000, as well as possible demerit points.

Schmidt also tweeted out several names of drivers and their charges.

“That’s not a list that people want their names showing up on,” he said when asked about the tweets Tuesday.

“We see all kinds of behaviours out on the highways and drivers need to take responsibility and we will hold them accountable for their actions.”

A gender and age breakdown of the data shows that those facing street racing and impaired driving charges are mostly young male drivers, between the ages of 18 and 35.

But the data from May 2018 shows that street racing and impaired driving charges are down slightly. In May of last year, the OPP laid 328 stunt driving and street racing charges, and 126 impaired driving charges, Schmidt said.

The OPP will be launching its summer traffic safety campaign, with a focus on aggressive driving, Schmidt said. The force will use all its power, including aircraft over the 400-series highways to look for high-risk driving behaviour, including weaving, following too closely and making dangerous lane changes.

“That kind of behaviour is often a contributing factor in collisions especially those serious collisions and sadly those fatal collisions, as well,” Schmidt said.

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