GTA police relaunch project ERASE to combat stunt driving

May 23, 2024 | GTA/Local News, News

Police forces across GTA relaunched Project ERASE (Eliminate Racing Activity on Streets Everywhere) at Exhibition Place today.

Project ERASE is an annual police campaign that targets stunt driving and street racing.

Police from various jurisdictions, including Toronto, York, Peel, Halton, Hamilton, and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) were present at the event.

Toronto Police Acting Superintendent Matt Moyer said people involved in stunt driving will face 30 days of driving license suspension.

“Car will be seized for 14 days, a minimum $2,000 fine, a maximum of $10,000 fine and a jail term of up to six months (will be imposed for stunt driving),” Moyer said at the event.

He said those convicts will face “concrete consequences” for street racing.

Acting Toronto Chief Kelly Skinner said individuals should confine racing activities to legal racetracks.

“The risks associated with illegal street racing are immense, not only for the drivers but for everyone on the road,” she said.

Toronto filed about 1,410 stunt driving charges in 2023, Skinner said. She said since the start of 2024, officers have issued more than 700 charges of stunt driving and related crimes.

She also reported a 31 per cent increase in complaints about stunt driving.

“We encourage the public to report dangerous driving activities to police or Crime Stoppers,” Skinner said.

Insurance experts warn that a street racing conviction can significantly impact drivers’ insurance premiums.

“A conviction for street racing could increase your premiums by over 100 per cent and place you in the high-risk insurance market,“ Insurance Bureau of Canada’s Director of Consumer and Industry Relations Anne Marie Thomas said.

She said insurance companies deny coverage in instances of street racing.

“If you are found guilty of street racing and your car is damaged as a result, it is quite likely that any insurance coverage to repair your vehicle will be denied,” Thomas said.

York Police Deputy Chief Kevin McCloskey said the first deployment of Project ERASE was in Vaughan last year.

York Police Deputy Chief Kevin McCloskey at ERASE conference at Exhibition Place.

York Police Deputy Chief Kevin McCloskey at ERASE conference at Exhibition Place. Photo credit: Police Service

“In that single event, the ERASE team made four arrests for offences including stolen vehicle, stolen license plates, dangerous driving and impaired operation,” he said.

McCloskey said in addition to the arrests, they laid 314 provincial offences charges and removed 15 vehicles considered unsafe from the road.

Peel Deputy Chief Marc Andrews reported 1,780 stunt driving charges by the Peel Regional Police. He said this was an increase of more than 700 charges compared to last year.

“As part of the ERASE 2024 program, we have so far issued 850 provincial offensive notice notices, including 170 stunt driving charges, 49 arrests and 45 vehicle seizures,” Andrews said.

He said the police forces will not tolerate risking of lives by dangerous driving.

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

OPP Superintendent Chris Josiah said the investigations into 94 fatal collisions last year revealed speed as a causal factor.

“If you are going to race, please take it to a real racetrack,” he said.

Skinner said everyone is responsible for public safety.

“People are getting hurt and some people are dying. This meeting today is all about collectively public safety and public service,” he said.