Street Racing Is Rampant on Toronto's Newly Empty Highways

Police reportedly charged 18 drivers with stunt driving this weekend alone.

Daily Life In Toronto
NurPhoto via Getty Images—Creative Touch Imaging Ltd/NurPhoto

As the coronavirus pandemic shutters much of the world indoors, one unintended consequence has been the eerie lack of traffic on the streets of many major cities. While empty roads have been great for reducing pollution, every car enthusiast knows—whether they like to admit it or not—clear avenues are also great for, let's call it, spirited driving. Unfortunately, when it comes to more than a dozen opportunistic Toronto drivers over the weekend, things got a little too spirited. 

From Narcity, drivers in Canada's biggest metropolis are taking full advantage of Toronto's newly empty streets. Police reportedly charged a total of 18 drivers with stunt driving over the past weekend, seeing speeds from 80 to 106 mph on the Don Valley Parkway, a major freeway that's limited to 55 mph. In the province of Ontario, stunt driving carries a penalty of six demerit points, a minimum fine of $2,000 CAD (approx. $1,500 USD), and a week-long license suspension and vehicle impoundment. 

"Like other frontline policing activity, there has been no change to traffic enforcement. For some violations, such as stunt driving, the lighter traffic on the roads may be one factor leading to the higher-than-normal charges," Sgt. Jason Kraft told Narcity. "Other contributing factors could be the change in seasons, more pleasant weather, dryer roadways, and summer vehicles coming out of storage. Toronto Police Service continues to actively conduct proactive enforcement activities and respond to driving complaints on all our roads."

On Monday, the city of Toronto declared a state of emergency after it recorded its first coronavirus death on Saturday, according to Global News. The province of Ontario has ordered all "non-essential" businesses to close starting Wednesday. Toronto Motorsports Park, the city's closest circuit that regularly hosts open track days, has been closed indefinitely.

Look, as a Toronto resident, I get it. The weather's getting nice, you've been cooped up at home with little to do, the roads look deliciously deserted, and the project car is itching for an Italian tune-up. And it definitely is not our fault that the DVP is kinda shaped like a racetrack that, going southbound, flows into some pretty scenic downtown views. However, the streets aren't completely empty and treating them like racetracks remains extremely unsafe and definitely illegal. 

The last place you want to be right now is in a hospital...or a filthy Uber after getting your ride impounded by the cops.

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