There are fewer drivers on the road these days but speeding and stunt driving citations are on the rise.
We are all doing our best to cope with the health, economic and domestic impacts of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Efforts to stay healthy, worries about work, the scramble to care for our kids 24/7 and a greater concern about the future have created a collective stress.
Across Canada, there is a 40-60% reduction of cars on the road as we are urged to stay home except for essential travel. There are fewer collisions being reported, but a disturbing trend has been revealed: speeding and stunt driving are on the rise.
Speeding citations are way up
In Toronto, police officers issued almost 3,000 speeding tickets from March 15 to 31, 2020, when the province was under a state of emergency. This is a rise of about 35 per cent from the same period last year.
Stunt driving offences have increased even more significantly. According to CTV News, Toronto police handed out 65 tickets to drivers travelling faster than 50 km/h over the speed limit—a 195 per cent increase.
Neighbouring forces have noticed an uptick too. York Regional Police report issuing 60 per cent more tickets for stunt driving offences in March 2020 than in March 2019.
In Ottawa, police seized eight vehicles that were driving over 50 km/h in one day. One was a motorcycle doing wheelies and two other drivers were speeding through a construction zone.
When Edmonton’s traffic safety team noted a 200 per cent increase in speeding 50 km/h in one week, they asked motorists to take care and slow down. While there was a 30 per cent decrease of vehicles on the road, speeding had tripled.
That city is adjusting its approach to support road safety by prioritizing photo radar enforcement in locations that seem to attract speeders. Their photo radar data shows a 30 per cent increase speeding over 20 km/h.
Emptier roads may tempt some of us to hit the gas, but with increased pedestrian traffic, safe driving is as important as ever. There’s no excuse for high speed driving that puts yourself and others in danger. If you do have to drive, be safe and attentive. Fines for speeding vary by province, but if you drive 50 km/hour over the speed limit, you could face up to a $10,000 fine, an immediate seven-day license suspension and seven-day vehicle impounding.
Police forces across the country are on higher alert for speeding and stunt driving. You can avoid a ticket by simply driving safely. For all of us.
Through this unprecedented situation, we’re urging Canadians to stay home and only use the roads when necessary. Many Canadians need financial help and so we want to help relieve some stress by offering $100 million in immediate relief for drivers, which includes immediate relief on insurance premiums.
We remain committed to our road safety platform but our immediate focus is our commitment to protect Canadians through this crisis. We’re with you today for a better tomorrow.
Learn more here.
The content in this article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as professional or expert advice from Aviva