NEWS

Police crackdown targets distracted, aggressive driving

10/22/2014 08:24 EDT | Updated 12/22/2014 05:59 EST
This morning, the OPP along with Toronto Police and York Regional Police are cracking down on dangerous drivers.

Operation Shield will target what police call the "big four" driving behaviours that are the leading cause of highway deaths, namely:

- Impaired driving.

- Distracted driving.

- Aggressive driving.

- Driving without a seat belt.

Police will also be making sure drivers are using HOV lanes properly.

The four-day blitz involves about 30 officers during rush hour along Highway 404 from 16th Avenue in Markham to Highway 401.

The crackdown comes as the provincial government plans to re-introduce a bill that will boost the fines for distracted driving.

Legislature considers tougher fines for distracted driving

The proposed changes to the Highway Traffic Act will take fines for distracted driving from between $60 and $500 to between $300 and $1,000 and will cost the driver three demerit points upon conviction. 

On CBC Radio's Metro Morning Wednesday, one man who lost his sister in a suspect distracted driving incident spoke about his loss and the need for tougher penalties.

Kandiah Kanagarajah's sister was struck and killed in August 2013 as she stepped off a TTC bus on Steeles Avenue. Although the case is before the courts, it's believed that distracted driving may have been a factor in the collision that killed Ranjana Kanagasabapathy. The driver of the van is facing a handful of charges in the case.

Kanagasabapathy was married with two children and a granddaughter. She was on her way to work at the time.

"I feel this is going to cause needless crashes," Kanagarajah told Metro Morning host Matt Galloway. "These are not accidents, they are caused by someone's carelessness."

Kanagarajah said he's in favour of increased fines for distracted driving.

"When you hit the pocket books, it will change people's behaviour," he said. "It's a good step. If they can confiscate the phones, that would be better too."

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