OTTAWA – Ottawa streets are quieter than ever due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, but those using the roadways are doing so faster then ever.
“Our quieter city streets with the reality of COVID-19 have seen an increase in speeding infractions and related complaints to police,” the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) released in a statement today (May 1). “This week, the OPS is launching a three-month speed enforcement campaign called Operation Overwatch.”
Motorists seem to be taking advantage of the emptier streets.
“Our officers are stopping drivers and riders traveling 30km to 50 kilometres per hou over the posted speed limit far too often, at a time when we want to minimize the burden for frontline emergency personnel and medical professionals,” Staff Sgt. Marc-Andre Sheehy, head of the OPS Traffic Services Unit, said. “For everyone’s safety, speed limits apply no matter the number of vehicles on the roadway. It’s fair to say that any form of Stunt Driving or Street Racing will be dealt with accordingly.”
Operation Overwatch will have frontline officers watching for lead-footed drivers putting themselves and other road users at serious risk.
“It’s not only a safety issue, it’s a quality of life issue,” OPS Traffic Case Manager Sgt. Craig Roberts said. “No road user should feel like they’re risking their life on account of a handful of irresponsible drivers ignoring speed limits on our streets day and night.”
In April, 19 drivers were cited for speeding. One driver was clocked at 163 km/hr in a 100 km/hr zone and another was stopped for 112 km/hr in a 60 km/hr zone.
Patrol Officers from the Central, East and West Divisions continue to address all road safety issues, but with an added focus on speeding.
“We need all of our emergency and medical personnel focused on the public health crisis our city is facing rather than further taxing our resources with completely avoidable incidents resulting from Stunt Driving and/or Street Racing,” OPS Traffic Unit Sgt. Mark Gatien said. “Don’t wait until you hurt yourself, someone else or get a ticket to adopt safe driving habits. Every time you get behind the wheel, make safe driving your priority.”
Under the Highway Traffic Act, Stunt Driving (+50km/hr over the posted speed limit) lead to licence suspension, vehicle impoundment and a court date. Upon conviction, first-time offending drivers/riders face a minimum $2,000 fine.