It will no doubt be used alot on the 400 so watch it folks
OPP to watch roads from above
Aug 14, 2007 08:06 PM
Ontario police will soon be watching for aggressive drivers from the skies, and the government is expanding the definition of street racing to include solo drivers who drastically exceed the speed limit, The Canadian Press has learned.
Premier Dalton McGuinty is to announce about $2 million in funding Wednesday to equip provincial police with a fixed-wing aircraft and high-tech surveillance equipment to watch the roads from overhead.
The technology will allow police to track suspects at any time – including in darkness and challenging weather conditions – as early as the fall, a government source said.
"The OPP's new plane will give them a new tool to fight street racing and keep families safe," the source said.
The definition of street racing has also been changed to include solo drivers who exceed the speed limit by 50 km/h.
The Ontario government recently announced it would be hiring an additional 200 police officers, and 55 will be committed full-time to fighting speeding and street racing.
Of those 55, four will be tasked with operating the plane.
In June, provincial police Commissioner Julian Fantino had recommended the government redefine street racing and put police planes in the sky.
He had visited Ohio to see how police planes are being used there to catch dangerous drivers, and he said he wanted to import the idea to Ontario.
Fantino had said the plan had no downside and would have negligible costs, considering the savings gained from preventing tens of thousands of injuries and deaths, plus costs associated with damages, insurance and lost productivity.
Ontario had police planes monitoring the roads between 1965 and 1981, but the program was discontinued for reasons including cost.
Provincial police also borrowed an RCMP plane two years ago for a weeklong pilot project and were then convinced it was just a matter of time before the idea would be revisited.
In May, Ontario passed street racing legislation that increased maximum fines to $10,000 – the highest penalty in Canada – and allowed police to automatically seize cars for up to a week.
The issue was pushed back on the radar last month after a series of deaths related to speeding on Ontario highways.
Nearly 40 people have died since 1999 as a direct result of street racing in the Greater Toronto Area.