Fantino Says 50 Over Limit Should Be Considered Racing
Tuesday June 26, 2007
It's an idea that's flown here before, and the OPP's commissioner wants to see it return as a way of combating speed demons on our roads.
Police planes are currently being used by Ohio authorities to help catch dangerous drivers, and on a recent trip to check out how the program works Commissioner Julian Fantino was impressed to see eight "high-end" speeders taken down by troopers in the span of 30 minutes with the plane's help. He thinks it'll be effective at catching speeders on Ontario roads by giving authorities eyes in the sky. The force has launched a feasibility study on the potential addition to the OPP.
"If you factor all those things in, as I think we should, this is a minimal expense, one that I think is cost-effective, but more so, it's very effective in terms of saving lives," Fantino said.
Should the plan be approved it wouldn't be the first time patrolling planes have flown overhead here - a similar plan ran in the province from 1965 to 1981. It was discontinued for reasons including cost.
Fantino also wants to get tough on speeding motorists by hitting them where it hurts - taking their cars away. He wants anyone caught traveling 50 kilometres or more over the speed limit to be considered a racer.
"I'm advocating that if you speed 50 kilometres over the speed limit, you're racing," Fantino said. "And then we should apply the racing laws to that and seize the vehicles and do whatever else is necessary. We have to stop all this."
Two teens face dangerous driving causing death charges in connection with an alleged street race on Highway 400 that ended up claiming the life of truck driver David Virgoe, a tragic case that prompted calls for tougher street racing penalties.
It's estimated that a plane could be leased for $200 an hour, while buying one outright would cost about $380,000.