Toronto sees nearly 600% increase in stunt driving during coronavirus pandemic: police

Police say fewer collisions has given officers more time for traffic enforcement. Nick Westoll / File / Global News

There has been a large spike in the number of stunt driving and speeding incidents on Toronto roads since coronavirus-related restrictions have taken effect, according to figures provided by the Toronto Police Service.

Between March 23 and April 27, Toronto police said there were 222 stunt driving incidents. There were 32 incidents during the same period in 2019. It marks a jump of just under 600 per cent.

“We’ve seen officers reporting three times the speed limit,” Sgt. Jason Kraft told Global News.

“They’re speeding in excess of 150, 180 kilometres an hour.”

In a previous update using figures from the second half of March, police reported a 200-per-cent increase in stunt driving incidents.

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More than 6,900 speeding tickets have also been handed out from March 23 to April 27, compared to 5,537 in 2019. That’s an increase of nearly 25 per cent.

“Now is not the time to be racing on our streets, increasing the risk to everyone around them including themselves. Our health-care professionals and our hospitals are being taxed and overworked at this time as a result of this pandemic,” Kraft said.

Number of collisions down

Meanwhile, police said the number of collisions in Toronto is down as most people stay home.

There were 1,535 crashes reported between March 23 and Monday versus 7,309 collisions during the same time last year.

Kraft said the reduction in crashes may be contributing to more tickets being distributed.

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“The reduction in the collision investigations that we’re conducting currently are allowing officers and affording officers the opportunity to engage in traffic enforcement in their unstructured time more so than ever before,” he said.

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