Maniac motorists endanger Trans-Canada travellers
By: Dave Whitfield
| Posted: Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 06:00 am
Drivers in the Bow Valley on the Canada Day weekend, it appears, were out to prove that the infamous Highway 63 near Fort McMurray is not the only stretch of highway in the province being abused.
Two incidents in particular stood out in regard to recklessness. In one instance, a B.C. driver was charged with dangerous driving after being stopped for doing 203 km/h in the mountain park’s 90 km/h zone. In another instance, a Saskatchewan man has been charged with careless driving after attempting to pass on the left shoulder of the TCH near Lac des Arcs, which resulted in two people going to hospital after a multi-vehicle pileup.
In the Lac des Arcs incident, a Canmore RCMP investigation revealed that a Camaro convertible was trying to pass another vehicle on the left shoulder of the road when it collided with that vehicle when merging back into the lane of travel.
The struck vehicle swerved into the right lane, colliding with a third vehicle, which then t-boned the vehicle that caused the collision and both vehicles went into the ditch.
The driver and passenger of one of the vehicles were taken to hospital for evaluation and were released the same day with minor injuries. The driver of the offending vehicle was charged with driving carelessly.
In general, said RCMP Cpl. Chris Blandford of the Bow Valley Integrated Traffic Unit, weekend drivers showed little regard for posted speed limits. In all, RCMP and Sherriffs laid 513 charges over the long weekend; with 16 of them to drivers going 50 km/h or more over the speed limit.
Of particular note, he said, was the B.C. man doing 203 km/h in a westbound Dodge Charger after 10 p.m. on Monday (July 2). At the time, said Blandford, traffic was very congested.
“It’s ridiculous to be driving at that speed during a time of congested traffic,” he said Tuesday. “That is extreme, excessive speed.”
Because of the high rate of speed, charges go beyond just the Traffic Safety Act. The man now face Criminal Code violations for dangerous driving, as well as careless driving and driving contrary to licence restrictions.
Blandford, a veteran of the RCMP, estimates at 203 km/h, the Charger would have needed “a football field stretch of road to stop.
“A lot of people also don’t consider the fact that, although the fences along the highway are designed to keep everything off the road, animals do get on there…
“Traffic was non-stop all weekend, very busy, but we still wrote 137 tickets on Saturday, 160 on Sunday and 118 on Monday.”
On Friday (June 29), 42 drivers were also charged, in conjunction with Cochrane units and aircraft support, on the TCH near Highway 40. As well, five drivers were charged with following too close.
Of those ticketed in the Bow Valley, several where charged with careless driving due to extreme speeds during heavy traffic volumes (one ticket for 77 km/h over, two for 64 km/h and another for being clocked at 62 km/h over).
One westbound female driver, said Blandford, was stopped once by a sherriff, then, less than 20 minutes later, by a Lake Louise RCMP detachment member for being 47 km/h over the limit.
In the case of the female, said Blandford, the sherriff felt she “wasn’t taking it seriously, so he radioed ahead. Some people get the point and slow down, but some people need more encouragement to slow them down.”
For the remainder of July, members of the Bow Valley Integrated Traffic Unit will be aggressively focusing on high risk driving behaviours and motorcycle safety. High risk behaviour includes impaired driving, excessive speed, careless driving, failing to signal, following too close and unsafe lane changes, etc.
Enforcement will include aircraft patrols.