ORILLIA - With the final long weekend of the summer approaching, the OPP will continue to target motorists who speed and drive aggressively, Commissioner Julian Fantino said on Aug. 20.
To date in 2008, fatalities are down by 32.4 per cent (190 this year compared to 281 in 2007) and the number of fatal collisions are down 32.1 per cent to 165 from 243 last year. That equates to 91 lives saved.
Ontario introduced new laws against aggressive drivers and racing, which is considered in any instance where a driver goes more than 50km/hour over the posted speed limit.
“We will continue to be relentless in our goal of saving lives and reducing serious injuries,” Fantino said. “Overnight in the Greater Toronto Area alone we stopped four motorists for doing more than 50km over the posted speed limit and in another situation, a young woman is fighting for her life in hospital as a result of a crash on Highway 404, where the driver was well over the posted speed limit and was racing with a friend in another vehicle.”
Fantino said of that injury, “That crash should never have happened. It’s one more example of the tragedy that results when someone shows complete disregard for the law, their own life, and that of others on the roads.”
The driver has been charged with dangerous driving causing bodily harm and could face additional charges as a result of the ongoing investigation.
Also on Aug. 19, OPP officers charged a motorist on Highway 407 for going 218km/hour; another was caught doing 170, and a third was travelling at 167. A fourth driver was stopped after being clocked at 170km/hour on Highway 400. All four had their licence suspended and their vehicle impounded on the spot for seven days. If convicted, they face fines from $2,000 to $10,000.
“That’s ridiculous,” Fantino said of such driving. “Some motorists think the province’s highways are their own private race tracks. We won’t put up with that. Our job is to protect the citizens of Ontario and keep our highways safe. This morning, I was in the OPP plane while it was doing aerial traffic enforcement and saw for myself the actions of some drivers who tailgate, weave in and out of traffic, and speed excessively. We identified 13 speeders, all going at least 130km/hour and one at 146km/hour. That’s one every four minutes.”
More than 7,500 drivers have been charged in Ontario since the legislation came into effect last September. The OPP has charged more than 5,700 of those drivers.
“This is good legislation,” Fantino said. “And gives all police services in Ontario another valuable tool in our collective efforts to save lives. Traffic safety needs to be a joint effort among the police, the justice system and the driving public. We’re doing our jobs; we just hope the others will do theirs.”