OPP to use aircraft to track aggressive drivers
The Ontario Provincial Police is stepping up its campaign on aggressive drivers and will begin using a plane to track dangerous motorists on Highway 400, CTV News has learned.
The force has purchased a Cessna and will launch the eyes-in-the-sky initiative in mid-March, CTV Toronto's Paul Bliss reports.
The aerial enforcement will begin by targeting the stretch of busy highway between Toronto and Barrie.
A spotter and a pilot will be aboard the aircraft, which will allow police to relay information to interceptor cruisers on the ground.
White marker points have been painted every 500 metres along selected stretches of Highway 400, which will allow police to measure the speeds of moving vehicles.
The aircraft will eventually be equipped with infrared technology and a high-tech video camera to allow police to operate the plane day and night.
After the first phase of the project, the aircraft will patrol the most dangerous stretches of southern Ontario highways, as identified by police.
It has been 27 years since the force has had a plane in the sky full-time.
Police forces throughout Ontario have been cracking down on street racers and highway speeders since stringent legislation came into effect last fall.
Motorists caught travelling more than 50 km/h above the posted speed limit have had their vehicles impounded on the spot and licences suspended for a week. The drivers also face fines of between $2,000 and $10,000 if found guilty.
In the first three months after the law took effect on Sept. 30, more than 2,300 motorists had already been charged.
While men in their mid-20s to mid-30s are the most the most common culprits of aggressive driving, police statistics show motorists of all ages have been caught under the anti-racing legislation.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Paul Bliss