Toronto police began a campaign Monday to crack down on careless and reckless driving in a bid to make the city’s roads safer this summer.
Speeding, impaired driving, aggressive and distracted driving — referred to by police as the big four — are the focus of the 2019 Summer Safety Traffic Initiative, police say.
“Traffic crimes cost society more, devastate more Ontario families and inflict more physical insult than all other crimes combined,” said Sgt. Brett Moore, who works with the traffic safety program unit at Toronto Police Traffic Services.
The main victims of the big four are vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians, cyclists, and seniors, police say.
Last year, 66 people were killed on Toronto’s roads — most of them vulnerable road users.
Police say the trend continues into 2019.
“These are the four key goals for us as we put our strategies together,” said Inspector Warren Wilson of traffic services.
“We really believe that everyone has a role in traffic safety, and if we can all focus on those things and do our part then we can save lives and keep our streets safer for people to use.”
Three hundred officers will be working overtime in their respective districts as part of the campaign.
This year alone, police say they’ve issued over 20,000 speeding tickets, over 5,000 distracted driving tickets, and they’ve arrested over 500 people for various types of impaired driving.
“We need drivers to slow down, to put the phone down, to calm down behind the wheel, to drive sober and really focus on the task of safe driving,” said Moore.
More tickets and more tow trucks
Police also say they will crack down on drivers who are parking in no stopping zones.
More parking officers and tow trucks will be out during rush hour ticketing and towing any commercial or regular vehicles.
“No tolerance. If people are putting themselves ahead of the thousands of others who use our roadways … well then they’re going to be getting tickets [and] they’re going to be having their vehicles towed,” said Wilson.