CAA_SCO_SUM21

CAA_SCO_SUM21

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56 | CAA MAGAZINE insider: advocacy PHOTOGRAPHY 5M3PHOTOS/GETTY NEED FOR SPEED Ontario has seen a dramatic rise in aggressive driving since the beginning of the pandemic IT'S AN EPIDEMIC in the middle of a pandemic. Since Covid-19 lockdown measures first began in March 2020, police have seen a significant surge in speeding and street racing. "It's important for drivers to think about the life-changing consequences that can come from selfish, reckless actions," says Constable Todd Snooks from York Regional Police of one driver caught going 194 km/h in a 60 km/h zone. With more people working from home now, traffic has significantly decreased on Ontario's roads. That has proven tempting for aggressive drivers, police say. "It's shocking and disappointing that some people seem to feel that because there are fewer cars on the road during the pandemic, that gives them the right to speed and drive dangerously," says Caroline Mulroney, Ontario's transportation minister. "There is no place on our roads for anyone who endangers the lives of others." Last year, from March 1 to December 31, officers in York Region stopped 1,151 people for what's known as stunt driving, an offence that covers everything from street racing to doing doughnuts on the road to driving more than 50 km/h above the speed limit. That was twice the number of stops police made for stunt driving in 2019. The rise is a worrisome trend with summer around the corner, says Raymond Chan, manager of government relations with CAA South Central Ontario. "It's important for all of us to keep each other safe on and around our roads this summer," he says. The penalties for stunt driving can be severe. Drivers face an immediate seven-day licence suspension and police will impound their vehicle for a week. They'll also face a fine of between $2,000 and $10,000 and up to six months in jail. Chan says drivers also risk becoming "uninsurable" or seeing their insurance premiums skyrocket. There is also the potential danger of seriously injuring someone or even killing them, Chan says. "There could be some devastating consequences as a result of excessive speeding or stunt driving," he warns. In York Region, Constable Snooks says police have stepped up their efforts to catch aggressive drivers. They're working with police forces across the Greater Toronto Area to break up street racing meets and using helicopter support to catch speeding drivers. "You're not geing to where you want to go faster when we're seizing your vehicle and taking your licence," Snooks says. "Living with the aermath is not worth the thrill of the moment." This advice is intended to provide general information only and is not intended to provide legal or professional advice, or to be relied on in any dispute, claim, action, demand or proceeding. CAA South Central Ontario does not accept liability for any damage or injury resulting from reliance on this information. Learn more To find out how CAA is advocating for safer roads, visit caasco.com/roadsafety

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