‘It’s scary’: Toronto police report 222% increase in acrobatic driving charges during COVID-19 pandemic

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‘It’s scary’: Toronto police report 222% increase in acrobatic driving charges during COVID-19 pandemic



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Toronto police issued 88,142 speeding tickets and 796 stunt driving charges in the first 10 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, new data shows.

These are increases of 151% and 222% respectively from 2019, where 35,051 speeding tickets and 247 stunt driving charges were issued between March 1 and December 31.

“It’s disheartening and scary,” said Sgt. Jason Kraft of the Traffic Services Unit. “It is both dangerous and illegal to travel at the speed that we are seeing.”

Toronto Police impound a vehicle believed to have been used in a stunt driving incident that saw a driver making donuts in a ring of fire over Easter weekend. A 19-year-old man faces charges. – Photo by Toronto Police DepartmentCar encounters are one of the things police have seen the most during the pandemic; Videos of these takeover events have appeared on social media, one of which recently occurred in North York over Easter weekend.

The viral video at one point showed an individual pouring lit, flammable liquid at an intersection so that a driver could run donuts into a ring of fire.

Police said more than 100 people gathered that night, April 4, and as police responded, crowds dispersed to several other places. The police were greeted with hostility and two cruisers were damaged.

Joshua Goodale-Chapman, 19, faces several charges, including the dangerous operation of transportation and driving stunts.

A vehicle believed to have been used in the incident was impounded. Two other suspects are wanted and the investigation is continuing.

“We have found that the officers encounter more aggressive mobs that turn on the officers, giving them the ability to leave and disperse, which we ultimately want them to do,” Kraft said. “We’re looking at different tactics and strategies to approach these car encounters and disperse everyone in the safest way possible.”

Toronto Police data shows a 222% increase in acrobatic driving charges over a one-year period. – chart toronto.comTeresa Di Felice, assistant vice-president of government and community relations at CAA South Central Ontario, is disappointed with the data.

“You have this parallel thing happening where, whether people feel pressured or not, they make changes in their lives to protect others (from COVID-19),” she said. “But when that translates into activity on the roads, that same consideration or vigilance doesn’t reverberate.”

The pandemic has created an opportunity for reckless drivers to take advantage of less congested roads, said Graham Larkin, CEO of Vision Zero Canada.

“It is very difficult to control the desire (for stunt driving) because speed is… encouraged by the auto industry, it is encouraged by movies, it is encouraged by video games and… it is encouraged by social media. “, did he declare.

Toronto police data shows a 151% increase in speeding charges over a one-year period. – chart toronto.com
As for the daunting speed, the city started using Automated Speed ​​Enforcement (ASE) cameras last summer, and the devices have issued thousands of tickets since.

In December, an offender was convicted of speeding 15 times in the same area of ​​southern Etobicoke. Two ASE cameras are installed in community safety zones in each neighborhood and rotate in different locations throughout the year.

The evidence is there for the program’s expansion outside of those areas, said Larkin, who called on lawmakers to consider introducing higher fines and demerit points for repeat offenders. Currently, ASE tickets do not carry any demerit points and do not affect a person’s driving record.

Di Felice is also up for this conversation.

“The program is still quite young in terms of implementation, so I think there is a lot of discussion to be had on the next steps,” she said.

But it’s not enough to tell people to drive safely or put up turf signs to “slow down,” Larkin added.

“Let’s face it – the people you want to stop, these stuntmen, is that going to stop them, seeing a tweet or a sign? No, ”he said.

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“We have to make sure that the roads are not built as drag tracks in places where people mix with cars.”

Two people, pictured here, are wanted in a stunt driving incident in suburban Toronto over Easter weekend. – Photos of the Toronto Police Department
Meanwhile, police will continue to enforce the law, suspend permits and seize vehicles, Kraft said.

“We will hold people to account for their behavior,” he said. “We will use all of these tactics, strategies and laws to make sure we provide safe roads and communities in the city.”

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