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GTA-wide crackdown on street racing, stunt driving sees 300 charges, 70 arrests
June 30, 2021

The groups are highly organized, using social media to arrange street races and stunt demonstrations for hundreds of attendees, York Regional Police Chief Jim MacSween says

York Regional Police has been cracking down on stunt driving with a joint force operation called Project Takeover.

In collaboration with Peel Regional Police, Toronto Police Services and the Ontario Provincial Police, they have arrested 70 people, impounded 60 cars, and laid more 300 charges between May 1 and June 24, 2021.

“The driving behaviours targeted during Project Takeover put the lives of road users and the involved drivers at risk,” York Regional Police Chief Jim MacSween said at a news conference at the force's Aurora headquarters Tuesday morning. “We all saw these incidents increase throughout 2020 and into 2021.” 

In York Region, there were 679 stunt driving charges under the Highway Traffic Act between Jan. 1 and June 27, said York Regional Police Insp. Chi Bhatt, who led the project.

“We’re lucky that nobody’s died and we’re lucky that nobody’s been injured,” he said.

The problem is most persistent in the southern part of York Region.

“Vaughan is where a lot of these vehicles meet and then from that point, they move on forward,” Bhatt said.

However, he said the events are "very sporadic" as to where they occur, so "that’s why we ended up having to join forces here, because they’re all over the place.”

Stunt driving has become more organized with groups using social media to coordinate meetups and share how to evade police, the project found.

“York Regional Police and our partners -- indeed, police services across the GTA -- knew the drivers weren’t engaging in these illegal acts randomly. These groups were highly organized, focused on illegally taking over intersections, pre-arranging street races and stunt demonstrations for hundreds of attendees at locations across the GTA,” MacSween said.

Bhatt said one tactic these groups use is moving jurisdictions, which prompted the collaborative effort from the multiple agencies.

“We’re going to continue to work together and where they go, we will continue to be there as a group to make sure that we’re joined, to be able to use all our resources to be able to combat this problem,” he said. 

Throughout the summer, police agencies across the GTA will participate in Project ERASE, which also cracks down on street racing.

Provincial legislation coming in September will also change how stunt driving is enforced.

The Moving Ontarians More Safely Act will see the speed threshold for stunt driving lowered from 50 km/h over to 40 km/h over on streets where the speed limit is less than 80 km/h.

Consequences for stunt driving will also be increased with the length of vehicle impoundment rising from seven to 14 days and the length of the licence suspension going from seven to 30 days.