Canada’s auto-pooling industry is a thriving industry.
In a province where drivers are often underrepresented in the police force, the practice has seen record-breaking numbers of collisions.
According to the province’s police service, it has the largest number of collision victims in the country.
With the average age of a police officer in Canada hovering around 65, auto-policing has become the latest way for the police to fill a quota of potential offenders.
But not everyone is thrilled about the way the practice is being used.
The practice of auto-poisoning is causing concern amongst many, including people who work in the field of auto theft and auto-safety.
“I know a lot of people that work in auto theft, they’re not even aware that auto-policing exists,” says Mike Fenton, who has worked with police for 20 years.
“It’s so pervasive that it has a huge impact on their safety, their mental health, and their ability to protect themselves.”
Fenton is currently a co-founder of the auto-safe campaign, which has launched a campaign called “Don’t Auto-Poison”.
He says police officers often find themselves facing a dilemma.
“If you see somebody driving a car that’s been illegally modified and you think it’s a threat, you might want to pull them over,” he says.
“But you may be reluctant to do so because you may think they’re a dangerous individual.”
But auto-penalties in Canada are very low, and auto drivers don’t usually face any consequences for their actions.
“People think the penalties in Canada will be so high that it’ll put a lot more people behind bars, but that’s not necessarily the case,” says Fenton.
“In the United States, where auto theft is a lot less prevalent, a person can get off scot-free for an offense of minor traffic infraction.
And in Canada, you’re only allowed to get off with a warning and a citation.”
The auto-Poisons campaign is asking people to contact police if they have seen any of these people driving in a way that could put them in danger.
If you or anyone you know has witnessed a situation where a person has been using a carpool service, contact us at [email protected] and we’ll contact the appropriate police department.
The CBC’s Mike Fons and The Canadian Press contributed to this report.