Pilot project with sheriffs delivers promising results

A pilot project between RCMP and Sheriffs in the Olds area to make Alberta roads safer is doing its job.

A pilot project between RCMP and Sheriffs in the Olds area to make Alberta roads safer is doing its job.

The six-month project, which began March 9 in Olds, is one of four projects with the law enforcement teams testing various models of traffic enforcement service delivery.

In the Olds area, traffic Sheriffs are the sole traffic enforcement entity.

But RCMP will still issue violations they come upon.

Other projects are operating in Airdrie, Wetaskiwin and Whitecourt.

In the Olds area, officers have so far laid 160 charges, that include 103 speeding violations, 11 seatbelts violations, two for child restraints, two for gaming and liquor act violations, 14 other-hazardous violations like careless driving, and 28 non-hazardous violations like no insurance.

Statistics for all four pilot projects total 806 charges, including 574 speeding violations and 232 violations under the Traffic Safety Act and Gaming and Liquor Act.

RCMP Insp. James Stiles, in charge of K Division’s traffic services, said results are so far “very promising.”

“What we’re trying to do is cut down on the injuries and fatalities on the roadways,” Stiles said on Wednesday.

“We are definitely seeing some more enforcement, so we’re confident it will lead to some results on the road safety.”

Olds RCMP Staff Sgt. Kevin Morton said roads in the area always get busier on the weekend at this time of year.

“For us, we’re on a route to the mountains. On Friday, we have two sets of traffic,” Morton said.

“The people leaving home to go to the recreational areas in the mountains and we have the oil patch-type traffic working in the rural areas out there coming home.”

Over the Victoria Day long weekend, which is typically one of the worst times party periods outside the Christmas season, the majority of traffic was “fairly responsible” considering the traffic volume, he said.

Another significant party period is late summer when people go out for the “final party” before school begins, he said.

Albertans are encouraged to let Alberta Sheriff Highway Patrol know about speeders or aggressive drivers on highways by going to www.sheriffs.gov.ab.ca and click on Sheriff Highway Patrol, or by calling toll-free 1-866-922-3389.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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