November 17, 2012 - 2:11 PM
Heightened police presence on Vernon roads is designed to remind drivers to slow down and cruise carefully.
Gord Molendyk, spokesperson for the RCMP, said traffic-related accidents in the early months of 2012 sparked efforts to increase traffic enforcement in the area. As a result, he says, traffic fatalities have dropped by 40 per cent.
There have been six traffic fatalities to date in 2012. Molendyk says the average annual traffic fatalities in years past has been around 8-10 in the North Okanagan.
"If people drive responsibly (this winter), hopefully we can stay under that."
In line with its Road Safety initiative, RCMP have conducted 55 road checks this quarter, up from 18 in 2011. Molendyk says police visibility on roadways is as important in preventing accidents as giving out tickets. The more often drivers pass a cop, he says, the more likely they are to slow down.
"Speed kills," says Molendyk. "The higher the speed, the greater the chance of serious injury—or death."
Traffic enforcement numbers have been climbing since the start of 2012 and RCMP expect the trend to continue. Already, 2012 numbers show a 55 per cent increase in traffic enforcement compared to 2011.
Molendyk says using reservist officers to target traffic enforcement activities continues to pay off.
"Reservists are used for specialized activities, such as traffic enforcement," says Molendyk. Unlike other officers, reservists are not interrupted by other service calls, and can focus completely on their assigned duties.
Molendyk says the added enforcement shouldn't impact the budget because ticket revenue coming back to the municipality makes it "more or less revenue-neutral."
The detachment currently has three reservists with the potential for a fourth.
— Charlotte Helston
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2012