Police services across southern Ontario have launched their annual spring educational and awareness campaign focusing on the dangers of street racing.
Project E.R.A.S.E. (Eliminate Racing Activity on Streets Everywhere) was launched today at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Clarington, one of the legal places motorists with a "need for speed" can go.
DRPS Chief Paul Martin kicked off the campaign and said that although police helicopters, planes and ghost cruisers are making a difference, street racing continues to be a community safety problem.
"In my jurisdiction, two of our fatal collisions last year were a direct result of racing," he told the assembled crowd of journalists and law enforcement professionals, "We charged 66 drivers with stunt driving last year and have already charged 27 drivers so far this year. Its far more common than you think and it is extremely dangerous."
The fines are considerable. Stunt Driving is a serious charge that comes with a mandatory seven-day drivers license suspension and a seven-day vehicle impoundment. Fines can go as high as $10,000 plus the court costs.
York Regional Police have been leaders in anti-racing educational campaigns and have hosted the E.R.A.S.E. launch since its inception in 1996. E.R.A.S.E. is a collaborative effort by 22 police services, the Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of the Environment to pool resources and raise awareness about the dangers of street racing.
Tom Carrique, Deputy Chief of York Regional Police, said his service is delighted the campaign continues to gain momentum as citizens realize how many lives are at risk when drivers turn urban roadways into race strips.
"These races are often impromptu they may start with a challenge on Twitter and before you know it, dozens of cars or motorcycles meet at a specific location in the middle of the night," he says, "The roadway may appear to be clear, but so many factors can come into play suddenly, such as shift workers driving to work, cyclists going by and even animals crossing the road."
Insp. Luis Mendoza from the OPP Highway Safety Division talked about continuing efforts to patrol major 400 Series Highways and major provincial roads. The OPP helicopters and fixed-wing planes are making a difference and he wants drivers to know the eyes in the sky may be where you least expect them.
Canadian Tire Motorsport Park is located north of Bowmanville and offers multiple opportunities for speed enthusiasts to pursue their interest in a safe and controlled environment.
Chief Martin and YRP Deputy Tom Carrique (JPG file, 449.8K bytes)
Chief Speaks to Reporters (JPG file, 165.5K bytes)
Bridgestone Racing Academy is an Alternative Option for Citizen (JPG file, 255.9K bytes)
Ten Police Services Attended the Launch in Clarington (JPG file, 284.9K bytes)