Sunday November 23, 2014

Blitz nabs negligent drivers

From This Corner
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I hope you were minding your manners on the highways and byways last week.

Police agencies and SGI collaborated for a traffic safety blitz. As a result, over a two-day period, 151 drivers were ticketed for improper or non-seatbelt use and 83 were ticketed for using a hand-held cell phone behind the wheel.

Those are impressive numbers reflecting those who “got caught.” I’m not sure how widespread non-use of seatbelts is, but the cell phone thing is a bit easier to observe. And it is my observation the tickets issued for hand-held cell phone list represents a minute fraction of drivers who refuse to obey the law.

In my brief Battleford to North Battleford commute I rarely make the trip without seeing at least one driver with a phone glued to their ear. Just in wild speculation I would say for each of the 83 folks ticketed, 100 were wily enough to drop the phone before being observed by enforcement officers.

This illustrates just how difficult this law is to enforce. Someone not wearing their seatbelt looks patently obvious as they grab and struggle to buckle up as an officer approaches their vehicle. The cell phone user can hid his behaviour much more easily.

The effort to raise awareness has its merits, however, and at least those who were ticketed may think twice before breaking the law again.

This was the fifth co-ordinated traffic safety blitz involving rural and larger municipal services, CN Rail Police, CP Rail Police, U of S Campus Safety Officers and the RCMP, among others.

The law enforcement officials issued a total of 516 tickets. In addition to improper or non-seatbelt use (including driver, passenger or child) and cell phone use while driving, the remainder of tickets were a result of offences including speeding, disobeying stop signs or disobeying red lights.

Last month’s co-ordinated traffic safety blitz, Operation March Madness, resulted in 943 drivers receiving tickets, including 754 for aggressive driving violations.

So, keep in mind the rules of the road when you head out in your vehicle. And a little common courtesy can dramatically increase the mileage of your stressed out body.

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