WATCH: Crackdown on lane blocking, distracted drivers coming to Toronto Monday

A Toronto Police officer writing a traffic ticket

Put down the phone and get out of the way.

They're the messages at the heart of two enforcement campaigns being launched by Toronto Police on Monday.

There will be no mercy for drivers who make gridlock worse by stopping in live lanes of traffic or leaving their vehicles in no parking zones.

The crackdown will be focused on downtown Toronto in the morning and evening rush hours through February 1.

"You won't have one of our parking enforcement officers or a police officer coming up behind you and giving you a friendly honk to get you to move along, " warns Supt. Scott Baptist.

Instead you'll be handed a ticket for $150.

If you leave your car parked where you shouldn't, Baptist promises that it will be towed and that you will pay hundreds of dollars to get it out of an impound lot.

Officers will wave off excuses from drivers that they were just dropping someone off or only stopped for a minute.

"When you do this, you become one of the major contributors to Toronto's congestion problems," Baptist explains. "If we're going to get Toronto moving, it's critical that we all follow the rules."

Mayor John Tory thinks delivery trucks have been flouting those rules lately.

"I almost hope in a certain way that a couple of delivery trucks get towed to some far distant pound and put there for a little while," Tory told reporters Tuesday.

The mayor stresses that he has discussed this issue with representatives from the delivery industry and the city has set aside places for trucks on side streets to facilitate their work.

"I get the fact, they have a business to do, but what they do not have the right to do is to ignore the law and to inconvenience a lot people," Tory said. 


The second traffic blitz will see Toronto Police crack down on distracted driving for a week.

Tougher penalties that came into effect January 1 mean someone caught using a phone or another device behind the wheel will face a minimum fine of $615, three demerit points and lose their licence for three days.

Supt. Baptist says police know drivers are using their phones in their laps to keep them out of view and officers are tailoring their surveillance with that in mind.

Baptist says officers will patrol from bikes, in marked and unmarked cars, trucks and vans. They will also ride streetcars and buses to spot distracted drivers and notify an officer on the road to stop them.