OPP launch holiday blitz armed with tougher laws

OPP launch holiday blitz armed with tougher laws

Ontario Provincial Police are using extra resources, and the province’s new traffic laws, to crack down on aggressive drivers over the holiday weekend.

Traffic unit cruisers, motorcycles, unmarked cars and aerial surveillance are patrolling the roads and marine unit vessels will be monitoring the waterways of the province, OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino said on Friday.

A short time after the campaign started, a motorcycle, travelling more than 210 km/h, slammed into the back of a police cruiser on Highway 400 near Highway 7. An Ajax man, 23, faces several charges.

The blitz is part of Operation Impact, an annual Canada-wide campaign aimed at making highways and waterways safer.

This year, the OPP can suspend licences and tow vehicles for reckless driving or excessive speeding, thanks to tougher laws that came into effect last Sunday.

Since the new regulations were implemented, more than 150 drivers across the province have had their licences revoked for a week.

The OPP has also seized more than 116 vehicles under the new laws.

The change came after the number of traffic fatalities on Ontario highways in 2007 surpassed last year’s toll.

As of Sept. 30, 351 people had been killed on roads the OPP patrols, compared to 337 last year.

Excessive speed was involved in 109 of the deaths, up from 89 last year, according to the OPP.

Fantino says it’s clear some drivers still aren’t getting the message.

“I’m very disappointed that we haven’t made more of an impact with people because, almost routinely, we seem to have the same repeat performance,” Fantino said as he launched Operation Impact on Highway 400, north of Major Mackenzie Drive.

Thanksgiving weekend is traditionally one of the busiest on Ontario highways. Five people were killed on OPP-patrolled roads during the period last year.

With reports from CTV’s Jim Junkin and Matet Nebres