With the arrival of warm weather and blue skies, law enforcement agencies across the region are on the hunt for aggressive and reckless drivers. The ramped-up presence of traffic patrols this week coincides with the first long weekend of the summer season.
“We know statistically that more accidents happen as the weather improves. That’s just the result of the sheer volume of traffic that’s out there. We’ll be out there all summer long with that increased focus,” said Saanich police Sgt. Dean Jantzen.
Saanich PD’s traffic safety unit is focusing on aggressive driving through the month of May. This week, the 15-member unit will be out every day conducting a variety of enforcement, from intersection watches to a “two strikes, you’re out” campaign.
“Speed most certainly is an aggressive form of driving. With the two strikes campaign, our officers are situated about two blocks behind an electronic speed sign,” Jantzen said. “The sign flashes to tell you if you’re speeding. And if (two blocks later) our guys stop you because you’re still speeding, you will get a ticket.”
Officers are also looking for bad driving behaviour such as running yellow or red lights, aggressive lane changes, following too close, and non-compliance with the seatbelt and distracted driving legislation.
Regional police forces have also launched a driving awareness campaign, revolving around safe practices when emergency vehicles (tow trucks, included) are stopped at the side of the road.
“We often have to dodge the mirror of a passing truck, or hold onto the frame of a vehicle we’ve stopped to avoid being pulled by powerful air currents into the side of a passing vehicle,” said RCMP Cpl. Ryan Bacica, a member of the Capital Region Integrated Road Safety Unit.
Under the Motor Vehicle Act, drivers must slow down when approaching a parked emergency vehicle at the roadside and, if safe to do so, change lanes.
“Many drivers tell us they don’t know about the law, but this is just common sense,” said Chris Foord, chair of the Capital Regional District’s traffic safety commission.
Drivers who don’t slow down and move over can be issued a $173 ticket.