The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) say it’s concerned a dramatic rise in driving deaths related to aggressive behaviour could be the start of an unfortunate trend.
According to OPP Sergeant Kerry Schmidt, the force has been called out to 27 aggressive driving-related deaths so far in 2017, compared to just 15 for the same period last year.
Schmidt lists speeding, tailgating, and excessive lane changes among the forms of aggressive driving the OPP attributes to traffic deaths on Ontario roads.
“Please don’t drive crazy; please think about everyone else,” he urged the public. He also appealed to Ontarians to “talk to their friends and family if they see them driving dangerously.”
For the last 10 years, police forces in the Greater Toronto Area have banded together in Project ERASE (Eliminate Racing Activities on Streets Everywhere) in an effort to crack down on dangerous and aggressive driving; the 2017 campaign began in April, following a spike in stunt driving charges that reflects the increase in road deaths.
Ontario has a street racing law that imposes stiff fines, licence suspension and vehicle impoundment for drivers caught going 50 km/h or more over the posted speed limit, or partaking in various other risky activities.
Earlier this year, Ontario MPP Eleanor McMahon introduced Bill S-213 in the province’s legislature, which would add new penalties to the Highway Traffic Act for drivers charged with causing death or bodily harm. The bill was originally tabled in June 2016, but it died on the legislative order paper when Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne prorogued the legislature in September 2016.