Tory calls for airplane pilot project, classifying 50km/h above the speed limit as racing

Toronto, July 4 /CNW/ - Progressive Conservative Party Leader John Tory today proposed a package of urgent measures to combat dangerous driving and fill the void created by Dalton McGuinty's weak leadership on keeping Ontario roads safe.

"Street racing and high speed driving don't belong on our roads and highways," said Tory. "Current penalties are weak and those who go to court end up playing 'let's make a deal' instead of facing serious consequences for their actions. It's time to stiffen penalties, end sentencing deals and urgently give police the resources they need."

Tory said photo radar is not the answer as it does not target dangerous drivers or ensure they face the necessary consequences for their actions. He set out a package of measures to battle street racing and dangerous driving right away, including:

-Approve and fund an immediate pilot project for OPP enforcement aircraft to target dangerous drivers based on successful programs south of the border;

-Immediately implement legislation recently passed that would toughen penalties. Dalton McGuinty decided this legislation would not become effective until September 30 - it should have been effective June 4, the day the bill received Royal Assent.

-More officers to catch dangerous drivers. Our Party will work with the federal government to put more frontline officers on our streets and highways.

-Classify driving 50km per hour over the speed limit as racing so police can suspend driving privileges for seven days on the spot as well as confiscate the involved vehicle at the driver's expense for seven days

-Instruct Crown Attorneys not to enter into any sentencing deals for racing and dangerous driving suspects - no plea bargains, no sentencing deals and quick appeals on sentences which don't fit the offence.

-Fix the court system where far too many charges are being dropped due to the lack of JPs or deals agreed to by the Crown. This undermines the work of front line officers and our Party will appoint the JPs needed, set standards on how long it should take to process these cases, and publish the stats on how many are being dismissed.

-Launch an awareness campaign especially aimed at young people and those in schools similar to successful drinking and driving campaigns.

Oak Ridges MPP Frank Klees has been pushing for action on street racing for years and had much of his Bill adopted by the McGuinty Liberals in recently passed legislation. Tory said: "The delays and half-measures must end. It was yet another dangerous weekend on our roads and we need action to make them safer before the summer is out."

For further information: Brendan Howe, (416) 325-0412