Police clock Ottawa drivers going 60 km/h over speed limit on empty roads during pandemic

Ottawa police a passerby discovered a man's both on a south-end snowmobile trail on Sunday morning. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Nathalie Madore

Reduced traffic during the coronavirus pandemic has some Ottawa drivers treating the streets of the nation’s capital like a Formula One circuit, prompting police to launch a new initiative cracking down on the city’s speeders.

The Ottawa Police Service says it’s handing out more speeding tickets since the pandemic began, with 19 drivers pegged for “stunt driving” — going any speed more than 50 kilometres per hour over posted speed limits — on city streets in April.

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One driver was reportedly clocked going 163 km/h in a 100-km/h zone, while another was ticketed for going 112 km/h on a 60-km/h road, according to police.

“Our officers are stopping drivers and riders travelling 30 km/h to 50 km/h over the posted speed limit far too often at a time when we want to minimize the burden for front-line emergency personnel and medical professionals,” said Staff Sgt. Marc-Andre Sheehy, head of the OPS traffic services unit, in a statement.

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The OPS is launching a three-month speed enforcement campaign dubbed Operation Overwatch, with patrol officers putting an extra focus on speeding during their regular duties.

Charges for stunt driving lead to licence suspension and vehicle impoundment.

If convicted, drivers face a minimum $2,000 fine.

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