Increase attributed to more distracted driving, speeding, added enforcement

York Region stats show an increase in fines in community safety zones over the past three years.

A startling increase in community safety zones driving fines in York Region over the last five years has local police officers worried about distracted and speeding drivers.

Statistics show that across the region, fines in community safety zones, formerly known as school zones, jumped from 2,867 in 2014 to 3,633 in 2015 and then again from 3,661 in 2016 to 4,249 in 2017.

That represents an approximate 50 per cent increase in community safety zone fines from 2014 to 2017.

Asked to account for the increase, York Const. Andy Pattenden said it was likely due to a combination of two factors.

“It’s likely a combination of increased enforcement (by police) and an increase in overall infractions. The answer is not clear,” Pattenden said.

However, Pattenden did say that officers have noticed “a rise in the number of drivers that are using their mobile phones while driving,” especially troubling in a community safety zone where children are crossing the street.

“There has been an increase in the number of drivers disobeying the rules of the road,” said Pattenden.

He said to try to put the brakes on the rise in infractions and cut down on infractions, the primary problem is distracted driving.

“It is the leading cause of collisions. Officers will be watching for drivers on their phones or texting while driving, particularly around schools,” Pattenden said.

He added that all drivers should “obey school zone speed limits and crossing guards, drive defensively and watch for enthusiastic children who may not be watching themselves.

“It only takes a moment of distraction to miss seeing a child walk out onto the roadway with potentially tragic results.”

Community Safety Zone fines in York Region by year:

  • 2013: 3,119
  • 2014: 2,867
  • 2015: 3,633
  • 2016: 3,661
  • 2017: 4,249

Source: YorkRegion.com