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'All of this is about saving lives': GTHA police services launch annual anti-street racing campaign

Toronto, York, Peel, Halton, and Hamilton police services along with members of the OPP gathered at Exhibition Place on May 23 for launch of the annual multi-jurisdictional Project ERASE (Eliminate Racing Activity on Streets Everywhere) education and enforcement campaign. Toronto, York, Peel, Halton, and Hamilton police services along with members of the OPP gathered at Exhibition Place on May 23 for launch of the annual multi-jurisdictional Project ERASE (Eliminate Racing Activity on Streets Everywhere) education and enforcement campaign.
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Illegal street racing, stunt driving, and other dangerous driving practices on roads and highways in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area will not be tolerated this summer, say police.

On Thursday, Toronto, York, Peel, Halton, and Hamilton police services along with members of the OPP gathered at Exhibition Place to launch the annual multi-jurisdictional Project ERASE (Eliminate Racing Activity on Streets Everywhere) education and enforcement campaign.

“We stand here in solidarity as law enforcement partners to send a strong message that we are united in our efforts to stop this dangerous driving behaviour,” said Acting Supt. Matt Moyer of TPS’s Traffic Services unit.

“Speeding and aggressive driving behaviours, they put your life and the lives of others in danger.”

Moyer said that police will be “actively seeking” and enforcing any type of street racing or stunt driving activity this summer.

“We will lay charges where appropriate and seize vehicles involved, as required by law. Drivers who are involved in stunt driving and street racing are subject to an immediate 30-day driver's license suspension, that’s where this starts,” he said, noting vehicles caught committing these offences can be impounded for 14 days and drivers could face fines anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000.

Moyer also warned that offenders could even be jailed for up to six months and lose six demerit points. Drivers could also face a further licence suspension of one year for the first conviction, three to 10 years for the second, and an indefinite one for the third, he said.

“So you can see that there are absolute concrete consequences involved when it comes to street racing and stunt driving,” said Moyer.

“The message is clear. We want you to enjoy driving on the roadways and streets in a safe manner while respecting all other road users. Public safety has and always will be our Number One priority.”

So far this year, TPS has laid 579 stunt driving charges and 215 related criminal charges. Last year, they laid a combined total of 1,410.

The calls for service relating to stunt driving are, however, up by almost a third compared to this time in 2023, TPS said.

"These numbers are alarming and they are unacceptable,” said Acting Deputy Chief Kelly Skinner.

“It's crucial for people to understand the risks associated with illegal street racing and the potential consequences, not only for themselves but also for other road users. We want to emphasize the importance of keeping racing activities confined to legal racetracks - this is essential for public safety."

Skinner encouraged the public to report dangerous driving and illegal racing activities to police or Crime Stoppers.

York Regional Police Deputy Chief Kevin McCloskey said that this unsafe and illegal behaviour has “no place on our roadways or highways or our parking lots.”

He pointed to several jurisdictions that have been dealing with an increase of organized groups of drivers who are gathering in large numbers for car meets, which he said in some cases results in “illegal activities, hazardous actions such as racing, drifting and burnouts.”

Last year, the first deployment from Project ERASE was in Vaughan and led to several arrests and hundreds of charges laid, he noted.

“Let me be very, very clear. If you choose to participate in dangerous and illegal driving, you will be investigated. You will be identified. Your vehicle will be seized, and you will be charged criminally or provincially,” McCloskey said.

“We utilize helicopters, unmarked vehicles and have a plan, and especially trained officers to help us achieve our goals.

Moyer, of TPS, said that the end-goal of this initiative is to reduce serious injury and death on the roads across the region.

“All of this is about saving lives. It's about public safety,” he said.

“You look around the many services that are all working from the same script. And that's exactly what we're going to do and it starts from today.”

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