Toronto police’s ‘zero tolerance’ crackdown on distracted drivers kicks off

Frustrated by a lack of progress on road safety in the city, Toronto police are launching a week-long crackdown on distracted drivers.

The campaign begins Monday and will include officers on TTC buses and streetcars looking for drivers trying to use phones or other devices out of sight.

“Distracted driving continues to be a major contributor to deaths and injuries and collisions. Including, in particular, those involving pedestrians and cyclists.” said Toronto Mayor John Tory last week.

“It must become a thing of the past.”

The effort comes just weeks after new provincial guidelines for distracted driving punishments came into effect. First-time offenders will face a fine of at least $615, and up to $1,000, and three demerit points. As of Jan. 1 this year, the Ministry of Transportation also has the option to suspend a driver’s licence for up to three days for their first conviction.

The penalties get stiffer upon a driver’s second and third offences with increased fines and longer suspensions.

According to Toronto police Supt. Scott Baptist, officers have increasingly reported seeing drivers hiding their phones in their laps while operating their vehicles. Plain clothes officers stationed on public transit will be especially keen on targeting those offenders, he said.

“Distracted driving is a serious community safety issue and one that can have tragic results,” Baptist told reporters at police headquarters.

“This behaviour is entirely preventable and completely unnecessary.”

Officers will also be patrolling the streets in pick up trucks and vans, said Sgt. Bret Moore.

“The idea is to get the officers up, off the ground as high as possible to have the best view inside a vehicle to see what drivers are doing,” he explained.

News Credit – CBC

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