Speeding and stunt driving continue to be a concern on Highway 6 on the Bruce Peninsula, and the MPP for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound says stiffer fines may be one solution.
Conservative MPP Bill Walker met with Terry Bell from the Bruce Peninsula Safe Communities Committee, Ontario Provincial Police officers, South Bruce Peninsula Mayor Janice Jackson and Northern Bruce Peninsula councillor Laurie Golden at his constituency office on Tuesday to review traffic statistics from this past summer of the stretch of Highway 6 between Wiarton and Tobermory.
According to statistics provided by the OPP, from the period between May 16 to Sept. 3, 2019 -- when more tourists visit the area -- officers issued 730 speeding tickets for drivers on Highway 6 on the Bruce Peninsula.
Stunt driving numbers provided look at the entire year in 2019 up to Sept. 3. In all, Grey Bruce OPP say 221 drivers were charged with the offence during that period -- 176 of those were on Highway 6 on the 75-kilometre stretch between Wiarton and Tobermory.
"The number of people pulled over is in my mind staggering," Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker says. "Obviously, the message isn't getting out enough."
Further, traffic stats from an OPP SpeedSpy device monitoring Highway 6 south of Barrow Bay Road in Northern Bruce Peninsula between July 29 and Aug. 5, 2019 recorded 29,424 vehicles driving over the posted speed limit of 80 km/h. That is 88 per cent of the 33,119 total vehicles captured at the speed survey location.
The numbers recorded by an OPP SpeedSpy device between Aug. 26 and Sep. 3, 2019 on Highway 6 north of Pike Bay Road in Northern Bruce Peninsula were similar. According to stats provided by OPP, 86 per cent of the 33,329 vehicles surveyed were driving over the posted speed limit of 80 km/h.
Walker says those in attendance at the meeting discussed what can be done to address the rising speeding and stunt driving statistics -- but acknowledges it is not necessarily a local challenge.
"It's more people coming and visiting the area that may not be appreciative of our smaller highways," Walker explains. "...That was one of the things the stats showed, a lot of the people were from the Greater Toronto Area."
If charged with stunt driving in Ontario you face a seven day driver's licence suspension and vehicle impoundment. If convicted, you face a minimum fine of $2,000 for first-time offenders and that could rise to as high as $10,000, according to multiple online databases. You could also face up to six months in jail and have your licence suspended for up to two years.
When asked if stiffer penalties is a solution, Walker says he doesn't know if it's the only one but he's a believer that if you put a significant punitive value -- he suggests maybe $25,000 -- that's going to catch people's notice.
"If people are truly going to do this, how do you really impact them to make them stop doing that?" Walker ponders.
The Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP says he asked both municipalities at the meeting -- South Bruce Peninsula and Northern Bruce Peninsula -- and the Bruce Peninsula Safe Communities Community to organize very specific ideas of what they would like him to do to address the speeding and stunt driving issue on Highway 6 between Wiarton and Tobermory.
"And I will take those to the Minister (of Transportation) for consideration," Walker says.