In a super aggressive enforcement campaign, Toronto Police are riding TTC buses and streetcars, unmarked cars, and bikes to crack down on distracted driving. Police announced that the campaign would begin Monday, January 14th in the city.
Starting next week, Toronto Police will be using all means possible to track down people who are texting and driving. This includes riding TTC buses and streetcars, patrolling on foot and with bicycles, and using marked and unmarked cars to catch any distracted drivers in the city.
This intense enforcement is targeted at people who think they can hide their phones from officers while texting and driving. In their announcement about the campaign, Toronto Police even call these drivers out directly.
They say, "To drivers who think that they can hide their use of a hand-held device by simply holding it down or out of plain sight from police, we have a message." That message is that by using all these different vantage points, like on the bus, they can see all angles of a vehicle so drivers can't hide.
This is a ramped up version of what some Ontario police forces and even some others across Canada have been doing recently, including those in York Region and in Ottawa who have ridden buses to catch distracted drivers.
The theory is that by being on the bus, police officers can use a higher vantage point to ambush drivers. Once an officer on the bus sees someone texting and driving, they can radio to officers on the ground who can pull them over and charge them with distracted driving.
As of January 1st in Ontario, those are especially heightened charges. Your first offence for distracted driving will now result in a fine from $615-1000, three demerit points, and an automatic three-day license suspension.
The charges only get worse with each conviction after that. If someone is hurt because of your distracted driving you can also be charged with careless driving and other more severe charges.
Toronto Police announced that their enforcement campaign will be aggressive and zero-tolerance, meaning there will be absolutely no leniency if you are caught distracted driving next week.
The campaign goes from Monday, January 14th to Sunday, January 20th.