The weather is getting warmer and the drivers are getting faster. So fast, in fact, that the OPP impounded 171 cars for street racing charges in April alone, and the month isn't even over yet. The latest driver was caught just last night.
According to Sgt. Kerry Schmidt, the OPP pulled over a driver yesterday evening who was going 165 Km/hour in an 80 zone, which also happened to be a construction zone. OPP impounded the car and charged the driver with street racing.
In a tweet about the latest street racing incident, Schmidt revealed that that was one of 171 cars that have been impounded since April 1 for street racing, which in Ontario doesn't require you to actually be racing anyone, but means driving more than 50 Km/hour over the speed limit.
Unlike a regular speeding ticket, street racing results in an automatic seven-day license suspension as well as an automatic seven-day vehicle impound, meaning the police tow away your vehicle and hold on to it for seven days. So not only can you not drive, but you don't have a car to drive even if could.
According to Schmidt, this is what has happened to 171 drivers this month alone, which is a concerningly high number.
Just 1 of the 171 vehicles impounded by the #OPP since April 1 in the #GTA for #StreetRacing #StuntDriving This one… https://t.co/aUCXF8SfXi— OPP Highway Safety Division (@OPP Highway Safety Division) 1555722151.0
Throughout the month Schmidt, who is the communications officer for the OPP, has shared a number of street racing, which is also known as stunt driving, incidents on his Twitter.
For example, on April 10, he revealed that 10 drivers had been caught street racing in Mississauga, each resulting in an impound.
10 #StreetRacers charged last night in #Mississauga #7DayLicenceSuspension #7DayVehicleImpound https://t.co/3qEhpqd8vn— OPP Highway Safety Division (@OPP Highway Safety Division) 1554898857.0
Since stunt driving has been a seemingly big problem for the OPP this month, Schmidt has also shared some stats about it. Back on April 10, he also shared that at that point there had been 72 street racing charges in April.
He also shared the demographics of people who had been caught. The highest demographic caught street racing were males between the ages of 18 to 25. The second highest was males between 26 and 35.
72 #StreetRacing charges and 18 Criminal driving charges laid by the #OPP in the #GTA April 1-8: Jeffrey MERCER –… https://t.co/wx7BTiPRfI— OPP Highway Safety Division (@OPP Highway Safety Division) 1554895099.0
Since there were 72 street racing incidents as of April 10 and 171 as of yesterday, that also means that almost 100 street racing incidents took place in the last 10 days alone.
According to Schmidt, as of April 10, the total number of street racing charges for 2019 was 655. Now that there have been about 99 more charges, the grand total is more like 754.
Unfortunately, while shocking, these numbers aren't that different from this time last year. According to Schmidt, in 2018 OPP laid 5770 street racing charges. By this time last year, they had also already laid 700 of those charges.
On top of the seven-day vehicle impound and license suspension, street racing, AKA stunt driving, in Ontario also can come with a hefty penalty. The fine alone is anywhere from $2000 to $10,000.
To make matters worse, while not considered a criminal offence, Street Racing can also land you in jail. This charge carries a maximum jail sentence of six months, and in Ontario, drivers have ended up behind bars because of this.