RCMP Const. Mitch Rowland of the Innisfail freeway detachment keeps his eye on traffic through a laser speed gun while Cpl. Drew Taylor speaks with a motorist at pullout for the Alberta Sports Hall and Museum Thursday afternoon. The two officers along with others were conducting an information CheckStop to educate drivers to slow down when passing emergency vehicles with lights flashing.

Mock emergency scene urges drivers to slow down

Lights flashing means slow down when passing.

Lights flashing means slow down when passing.

That’s the message local RCMP and the Alberta Motor Association wanted to get across on Thursday afternoon during a mock emergency scene they set up along Hwy 2 by the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in Red Deer.

A tow truck, AMA vehicle and RCMP cars were parked on the side of the busy highway from 3 to 4 p.m. as part of an educational initiative to show aggressive drivers what is at stake for emergency workers rescuing stranded vehicles.

“It’s purely for education. We have guys set up with a laser monitoring the speed of the vehicles passing the tow truck and emergency vehicles,” said Cpl. Brian Johannson with Central Alberta Integrated Traffic Services.

Anyone who is speeding in the lane next to the tow truck would be pulled in but no tickets were issued on Thursday.

“We’re handing out pamphlets instead to remind people that they do need to slow to 60 km/hr when passing emergency vehicles on the inside lane. It’s the law,” Johannson said. “This law has been in act since October 2005 and we run into huge numbers of people who aren’t aware this law even exists even though all our major highways have signs and it’s on the radio.”

Speed fines are double in Alberta for those with heavy feet passing stopped police vehicles, ambulances, fire and tow trucks with flashing lights.

For those travelling 50 km over, it’s a $703 fine, said Johannson.

Traffic was abiding by the rules and moving slowly on Thursday afternoon for the most part.

“That’s how it goes sometimes. A few vehicles slow down and everyone follows,” Johannson said.

AMA communications specialist Chris Rechner was also on scene Thursday and said there have been a number of close calls recently in the Central Alberta region with AMA staff trying to help stranded cars.

“We try to put up a blocker truck now so we have two vehicles on the scene on a highway or busy road but even then people just speed right by. They’ll shave the cheeks of our drivers. One guy the other day had set out pylons and someone drove right over two of them,” Rechner said.

The speeder just missed the third pylon, where the AMA staff member was near, down on his knees changing a tire.

“If we keep making that connection with people that tow trucks are emergency vehicles and they’re operated by people just like you and me, that they deserve a safe place to go to work, maybe more people will start obeying the law . . . If we can warn people to avoid that behaviour, everyone wins,” Rechner said.

Johannson said a sheriff in the Blackfalds area has had his vehicle hit twice while he was stopped with flashing lights on the side of the road.

“I had to jump over a car to get out of the way because a guy came by so fast,” he added. “All these people have families and they want to get home safe, too.”

It was the first time a mock emergency event was held by police and AMA on a major highway in the Red Deer area.

A similar situation was set up in Calgary on Thursday morning.

rfrancoeur@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Updated: Red Deer welcomes 2019 Canada Winter Games Team Alberta

About 250 Alberta athletes are participating in the Games

Syrian immigrants feel welcomed

Winter Social held at Festival Hall to promote multiculturalism

Small group rallies with pro-immigration message

Group wanted to counter misinformation on United Nations migration agreement

Trump says ‘things are going very well’ with North Korea

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Saturday that “things are going very… Continue reading

NDP won’t stop until Trans Mountain is built, says minister

Deron Bilous speaks at Red Deer chamber luncheon

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Kriechmayr edges Swiss favourite Feuz to win WCup downhill

WENGEN, Switzerland — It takes a special run to beat Switzerland’s best… Continue reading

WestJet plane heading to Victoria slides off Edmonton runway, no injuries

EDMONTON — A WestJet plane has slid off an icy taxiway at… Continue reading

Sam Bennett scores twice, Flames beat Red Wings 6-4

Flames 6, Red Wings 4 CALGARY — Sam Bennett scored twice including… Continue reading

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Most Read