Two Winnipeg drivers won’t be behind the wheel for a while after they were caught racing Sunday.
“Their actual assignment was to monitor traffic in areas that are considered high volume on these Cruise Nights,” Const. Tammy Skrabek said. “They were in the area of Portage Avenue around Smith Street when they noticed two vehicles.”
“The one vehicle caught the officer’s attention because it was being repeatedly popped — so the throttle was being popped very loud and then let go, so sort of that intention like ‘hey, do you want to race?’ with another vehicle.”
Police said the two cars were jockeying for position, trying to get to the front of the intersection beside one another. They were able to get side-by-side and sped west along Portage before being pulled over several blocks later.
“You’re talking right downtown — this isn’t out south (Pembina) or some place a little less populated,” Skrabek said. “This is right downtown where there’s a number of stoplights and heavy traffic and also a number of pedestrians at any given hour of the day, so that’s a concern in itself.”
The would-be racers were clocked going 80 km/h in a 50 km/h zone — which is concerning, Skrabek said, but wasn’t the worst problem.
“The speed racing in itself is a public safety issue, but the modifications to the vehicle now put the driver at risk, as well as other people,” she said. “In one of the vehicles, you’re talking about some small modifications where the steering wheel was modified, the horn didn’t work, the centre brake light — which is now regulated across Canada — was removed.”
“But there were larger things like the front passenger seats were not secured to the vehicle. There were mounting bolts missing, the seats could be moved manually,” Skrabek continued.
“If that vehicle was involved in an accident, it would literally send the driver flying out of the vehicle.”
Skrabek said the other car was even less safe.
“In the rear trunk, he had a nitrous oxide booster tank,” she said. “If that comes into contact with the wrong thing, whether it be gas or even just an accident where it explodes, that could cause a great deal of damage. And as well, his tires were noted to be bald, so there was no real capacity for braking if he had to in an emergency.”
Skrabek said in cases where car owners want to make the cars faster, it is possible to do so — but those modifications must stick within the parameters set out by Canadian regulations and MPI.
Both cars involved in Sunday’s incident were seized by police and the drivers have had their licenses suspended.