Ottawa Police have received an increased number of complaints regarding street racing and vehicle equipment violations, (loud mufflers, improper lights, etc.) on city streets. However, Ottawa still does not have near as much of a problem with street racing as other major cities in Canada and the United States.
With road safety as a top priority, the Ottawa Police Traffic Section decided to crack down on the drivers of automobiles and motorcycles engaging in this dangerous driving behaviour. Officers from this section, working in conjunction with officers in the Air Support and Canine units, utilize the plane's camera equipment and radar equipment on the ground to ensure drivers are identified and charged accordingly.
"There is no place for this type of behaviour on the streets of Ottawa," stated Chief Vince Bevan. "These individuals are putting at risk their lives and the lives of other people. Each summer we receive complaints about racing automobiles and motorcycles. State of the art equipment in our aircraft now enables us to use it as a surveillance platform to catch people involved in these activities."
In August 2004, Ottawa Police conducted a two week long Traffic Enforcement Blitz, targeting aggressive street racing. The blitz was dubbed Project "ROCKET". During that two-week period, there were a total of 567 charges laid. On occasion, offenders fail to stop for police and at times attempt to engage officers to enter into high-speed pursuits. However, in the interest of public safety, police do not engage in high-speed pursuits.
The three most significant charges were speeding (201), fail to have insurance (80) and fail to surrender permit (29). It is to be noted that there were several charges of unnecessary noise (6).
Take it to the Track
Take it to the Track is an event that has been held several times at the Ottodrome in the City's west end. This is an event where car, truck and motorcycle enthusiasts can come out and showcase their vehicles. There have been classic, new model and customized cars and trucks on display along with motorcycles.
The goals of the project included creating awareness of the laws, penalties and consequences of street racing as well as trying to influence people to contribute to road safety. Many people of all ages came out to the Ottodrome to take in the vehicles and events.
Speeding Costs You... A Fine, Your Licence and Even Your Vehicle
Drivers who participate in a "street race," "driving contest," or "driving stunt" on an Ontario roadway will face an immediate:
- 7 day licence suspension
- 7 day vehicle impoundment (regardless if the offender owns the vehicle or not)
Upon conviction offenders will face a:
- Minimum fine between $200 and $2,000
- Maximum fine between $1,000 and $10,000
- Court ordered licence suspension
- 2 years for a first conviction
- 10 years for a second conviction
Drivers traveling more than 50 km/h above the posted speed limit are considered to be performing a stunt and are subject to all of the above penalties.
The Ottawa Police Service will not hesitate to enforce these amendments and offenders should expect both licence suspensions and vehicle impoundments.
Exceeding speed limits or driving too fast for conditions accounted for 2,891 reportable collisions on Ottawa's roads in 2006. These collisions caused 916 injuries, 66 of them serious, and 13 deaths.