New law sees OPP hand out more than 1,000 tickets

Eastern Ontario force also impounds 20 vehicles over Thanksgiving weekend

William Lin and Jessie Bird, Ottawa Citizen

Published: Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Provincial police in Eastern Ontario doled out more than 1,000 tickets and impounded 20 vehicles in a Thanksgiving weekend blitz, as authorities began applying a new law allowing them to seize vehicles for excessive speeding.

The OPP impounded 175 vehicles across the province and seized 175 driver's licences.

OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino issued a stern warning in a statement Tuesday that the police are "unrelenting" in cracking down on reckless drivers.

"Unfortunately, too many motorists still don't believe we will take their car and licence if they are caught doing more than 50 kilometres over the posted speed limit and making unsafe turns, racing and doing wheelies on a motorcycle as well as other dangerous manoeuvres," Commissioner Fantino said.

"They're quickly finding that we will. We're unrelenting. We're not going to give up. We're going to do whatever it takes to change people's inappropriate habits - one dangerous driver at a time if that's what it takes."

Four people died on OPP-controlled highways over the Thanksgiving weekend this year; five died last year.

Across the province, OPP laid 5,087 speeding charges, and 619 moving hazard violations, which includes careless driving.

The Thanksgiving weekend, known for spikes in accidents as many head to cottage country, also saw 506 seatbelt violations and 127 half-day suspensions.

In Eastern Ontario, OPP issued 925 speeding tickets and charged 31 people with drinking and driving offences.

Twenty-seven drivers were issued 12-hour licence suspensions. Police also laid seven careless driving charges, and handed out 89 tickets for seatbelt infractions and 91 tickets for other moving violations.

The OPP also recounted several notable traffic violations.

One was a motorcycle driver who was driving 210 kilometers per hour on Highway 400.

The man was initially clocked at 180 km/h and then sped up after being chased by a police cruiser.

The driver then collided with an OPP cruiser at the Highway 7 exit. He had his motorcycle seized and faces several charges.

Another motorcyclist was stopped and found to have had 30 convictions, 21 for speeding, and no insurance. He was also driving with a suspended licence.

"Unfortunately, some still aren't getting the message," Chief Supt. Bill Grodzinski said in a statement.

Meanwhile in Ottawa, OPP issued 116 tickets, and while the majority were for speeding, four drivers were charged with operating over the legal alcohol limit and one was charged with possession of marijuana.

Police are also seeking information from anyone who witnessed a single vehicle collision on Oct. 4 that took place on Highway 416 near the Rideau River Bridge.

The crash involved a stolen blue 2003 Honda Civic, which rolled off the left side of the roadway after racing with another motorist before the crash.

Any witnesses should contact the OPP Ottawa detachment at 613-828-9171.