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Police across GTA and OPP launch project to combat street racing

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Police across GTA and OPP launch project to combat street racing

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Toronto Police has seen a 31% increase in stunt driving calls compared to same time last year

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Police across the GTA and OPP have banded together in an effort to combat street racing and stunt driving.

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Representatives from police forces in Toronto, York, Peel, Halton, Hamilton along with the OPP were present at Exhibition Place on Wednesday to launch Project ERASE (Eliminate Racing Activity on Streets Everywhere), which seeks to reduce serious injuries and deaths on area roads.

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“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,” said Toronto Police Acting Deputy Chief Kelly Skinner.

“We want to emphasize the importance of keeping racing activities confined to legal racetracks — this is essential for public safety.”

In 2023, Toronto Police laid a total of 1,410 stunt driving charges. Since the beginning of the year, officers have already handed out 579 stunt driving charges and 215 related criminal charges.

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There has also been a 31% increase in calls to police relating to stunt driving year-to-date over the same time last year.

Since the beginning of 2024, Project ERASE has issued over 850 provincial offences notices, with 170 of those charges for student driving, leading to 49 arrests and 45 vehicle seizures.

“In 2023, the first deployment for Project ERASE was in Vaughan,” said York Regional Police Deputy Chief Kevin McCloskey.

“In that single event, the ERASE team made four arrests for offences including stolen vehicle, stolen licence plates, dangerous driving, and impaired operation. Additionally, 314 provincial offences charges were laid and 15 motor vehicles were removed from the road for being unsafe.”

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McCloskey said Vaughan’s 2024 bylaw amendments that tickets people between $1,000 and $10,000 in fines for participating in unauthorized car rallies has made an impact.

“There have not been unauthorized car rallies in the city of Vaughan this year,” said McCloskey.

“This is the perfect example of what can happen when communities and municipalities and policing partners work together to create change and safer roads in our communities.

In 2023, Peel Regional Police issued 38,274 Highway Traffic Act offences, of which 8,229 charges were for speeding.

In Peel, 941 vehicles were investigated and a total of 1,230 driving related charges were laid last year.

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“Above and beyond the ERASE program (Peel Police) laid 1,708 stunt driving charges, an increase of over 700 charges compared to the prior year,” said Peel Deputy Chief Marc Andrews.

“Behind these stats are real people who have been impacted by real people on our roads and in some cases the tragic loss of lives and devastated families.”

Drivers who are involved in stunt driving and street racing could be subject to a 30-day licence suspension, a 14-day vehicle impoundment (whether it’s your vehicle or not), a minimum fine of $2,000 and a maximum of $10,000, a jail term of up to six months and six demerit points.

Upon conviction, a further licence suspension of one year is applied. A motorist can be banned from driving for between three and 10 years for a second offence and an indefinite suspension for a third conviction.

“We encourage the public to report dangerous driving and illegal racing activities to police or Crime Stoppers as a proactive step towards ensuring community and road safety,” said Skinner.

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