Every year, police across Ontario set out on a mission to erase street-racing, stunt driving and affiliated activities. Though we briefly mentioned it in an earlier post on speeding following the Paul Walker car accident that resulted in his death, we felt that it was time that we looked at Project E.R.A.S.E a little bit closer. E.R.A.S.E stands for Eliminate Racing on Streets Everywhere and police use the project to formally remind the public about the dangers of speeding.
Driving over the speed limit is nothing new and has been happening ever since the automobile was invented. Organized street races were made popular in the ’60s. The dangers associated with the behaviour have remained something that drivers still need to be reminded of. Unlike other activities that spike adrenaline levels such as parachuting, speeding on public roads is an active threat to numerous innocent lives. According to the Toronto Sun, the OPP has laid almost 400 charges related to street-racing this year already. Last year 150 people were killed in crashes where speeding was a factor, though it is unknown how many of those deaths were a result of organized street racing.
Formal, organized street racing as we all know it is not the only time that you could be charged under the law that came into effect in 2007. If you are caught exceeding the speed limit by 50km/h or more, there is a possibility that you could be charged with stunt driving. For more on the exact penalties associated with stunt driving, visit our previous blog post.
“The goal of the E.R.A.S.E. Program is to change poor driver behaviour through education and strategic enforcement.” – OPP
Eyes in the Sky & On the Ground
Don’t look up but in order to be able to monitor street racing more effectively, police have taken to the skies. They are looking for the tell-tale signs of a street race either in progress or about to begin such as groups of cars in desolate areas or the formation of lines of vehicles. The birds-eye-view with the help of thermal cameras is extremely useful as they do not have to wait for a tip from a citizen in order to catch street racers in the act and the video captured serves as evidence later on.
Another way that police have been targeting speeding is by scrutinizing vehicle modifications associated with racing. Police say that these common modifications alter the vehicle to the point that the vehicle becomes compromised and the driver has less ability to retain control. In addition to catching those actively involved in street-racing, having illegal modifications on your vehicle during Project E.R.A.S.E. is basically putting a spotlight on your vehicle and you shouldn’t be surprised if you get stopped by police.