Toronto police launched two separate traffic campaigns yesterday, cracking down on distracted drivers and those who stop in curb lanes illegally.

Officers were handing out tickets on Monday to drivers blocking downtown rush hour routes.

Anyone found stopped in a curb lane in the downtown core faces a fine of $150. Police will also be towing all vehicles that have been left unattended in a curb lane.

File photo. (J.P. Moczulski/The Canadian Press)

Similar blitzes have been conducted in the past but speaking to reporters last week, Tory said some drivers have “slipped back into some of their old ways.”

The blitz coincides with a one-week campaign by Toronto police targeting distracted drivers.

“I think both of these blitzes are important signals to people to remind them of stuff they know well– don’t use your phone when you are driving, don’t do other things to distract yourself and don’t pull over in no-stopping zones during rush hour and inconvenience hundreds of other people,” Tory told CP24 on Monday morning.

He called the driving infractions “illegal, anti-social behaviour.”

Tory said both distracted driving and stopping in curb lanes pose safety risks to other drivers and road users.

“Distracted driving is one of the things that contribute the most to the kinds of terrible tragedies that we’ve seen with pedestrians and others,” Tory said, adding that congestion also “makes people drive in a way that in unsafe.”

Tory said the province’s introduction of stiffer penalties for distracted driving will change behaviours.

“Like seatbelts and like drinking and driving, it took time for people to educate themselves as to just how bad this was so I just think we will have to keep at it and that’s what these blitzes are all about,” the mayor said.

Police Chief Mark Saunders said some distracted drivers use a similar narrative to those who rationalize drinking and driving.

“You know, ‘I’m a better driver than most so if I have some drinks, than I’m equal to (other drivers),’” Saunders told CP24. “You’re not. If you are impaired, you are impaired and if you are distracted, you are distracted. You are eventually going to get into a collision.”

Source: CTV News