Illegal street racing targeted by cops in Mississauga, Brampton, Durham and across the GTA

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Published May 25, 2023 at 12:18 pm

Police brass from several law enforcement agencies, including Peel Regional Police, gathered in Mississauga on Thursday to officially launch their annual campaign against illegal street racing and stunt driving.

Police in Mississauga, Brampton, Durham, Toronto and other parts of the GTA are urging the public to help them get dangerous street racers and stunt drivers off the roads as the illegal behaviour has become both more prevalent and more of a threat to everyone’s safety.

Police brass from a handful of GTA law enforcement agencies, including Peel Regional Police, met in Mississauga this morning (May 25) for a news conference where they revealed numbers that show the dangerous and illegal driving behaviours are on the rise in Mississauga, Brampton, Oshawa, Toronto and York, among other municipalities.

They also officially launched their annual collaborative road safety campaign, Project ERASE (Eliminating Racing Activities on Streets Everywhere).

For the next six months or so, the multi-jurisdictional campaign will see police officers step up efforts to clamp down on stunt driving, street racing and other dangerous activity on the roads.

Stunt driving is defined as travelling at:

  • 50 km/h or more over the speed limit where the posted limit is above 80 km/h
  • 40 km/h or more over where the limit is 80 km/h or less
  • a speed of 150 km/h or more on any road or highway

In addition to their own combined efforts and strategies, police are renewing their call for help from the public, which they describe as their most important policing tool in the battle to keep roads safe.

“Stunt driving and street racing are among the most significant public safety concerns (we face),” Peel police Deputy Chief Marc Andrews told reporters, adding the dangerous activity knows no borders.

“(Offenders) move freely throughout neighbourhoods (in our communities) without concern for public safety…let me be clear: We have a zero tolerance for this behaviour, so if members of the public see numerous vehicles gathering to race or you see racing in progress (in Peel), call our Road Safety (division) at 905-453-2121, ext. 3750, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.”

Andrews noted that Peel police alone have laid more than 4,000 street racing and stunt driving charges since 2018, including 500 so far in 2023.

Representatives from Toronto Police, as well as York and Durham regional police forces on hand at the Garry W. Morden Centre in north Mississauga today cited similar growing numbers in their communities.

Durham Deputy Chief Joe Maiorano called the fight against street racing and stunt driving a “top priority” for his troops.

“It’s a foolish and perilous activity,” he said of the illegal behaviour.

Toronto Police Acting Superintendent Matt Moyer reiterated the need for the public’s help.

“This is not a task that falls on the shoulders of any one (police) service, and the public’s help is crucial,” he said. “We are on an island on our own without the public’s help.”

Driving complaints can also be filed by the public, in Peel, through the Road Watch portal on the Peel police website.

Other law enforcement agencies involved in Project ERASE include Barrie Police, Halton Regional Police, Hamilton Police, OPP, Waterloo Regional Police and the Ministry of Transportation.

Earlier this month, Peel cops launched their annual Project Noisemaker and ERASE campaign, which in addition to stunt driving and street racing also targets noise pollution from excessively loud vehicles on the roads.

The campaign concludes in early November.

“For the next six months, these ongoing projects will target street racing activities in Peel and motor vehicles with modified and/or excessively loud exhaust systems on the roads,” Peel police said in an earlier news release. “Drivers are reminded that they will be subject to charges and penalties for offences under the Highway Traffic Act and breaking municipal bylaws, and (they) could face seizure of their vehicles and a roadside suspension of their driver’s licence.”

Street racing in Mississauga and Brampton poses a significant danger to the public, police say.

Typically, groups of street racers show up in large numbers to race in industrial areas in Peel and across the GTA late Friday and Saturday nights from about May to the end of October, police say.

Of particular concern to police the past several months has been a large group of street racers and stunt drivers taking part in the illegal activity at Westwood Square shopping mall in the Malton area of Mississauga.

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