LAKE LOUISE – Lake Louse RCMP are out in full force heading into the busy May long weekend, clocking a speeder doing 179-km/h – almost double the speed limit of the Trans-Canada Highway throughout Banff National Park.
Police say an officer conducting patrols clocked the driver at 179-km/h heading westbound on the highway between Banff and Lake Louise at about 6:30 p.m. on May 16.
“This was an exceptionally high speed,” said Sgt. Susan Richter, detachment commander of Lake Louise RCMP, noting the driver has been summoned to appear in Canmore court on July 20.
“I think there’s a lot of speeding in the park because it’s not super common that highways are 90-km/h, but 89-km/h to 90-km/h over is not acceptable and is not super common.”
So far in 2023, RCMP have issued 864 tickets for speed violations on the Trans-Canada Highway in Banff National Park. Of these, 61 involved speeds above 50-km/h over the posted speed limit.
According to a report by Alberta Transportation, in 2020 26.2 per cent of fatal collisions were reported as involving unsafe speeds.
RCMP say unsafe speeds increase the risk of collision and serious injury for all road users.
Richter said traffic safety is a priority for Lake Louise RCMP, noting officers are on the road every day to identify high risk driving behaviours such as impaired driving and speeding.
“We’ll be out in full force over the May long weekend,” she said.
“Our Lake Louise officers are always out doing traffic enforcement every day, but we will have additional officers for the long weekend.”
The RCMP reminds drivers that speeding affects their ability to come to a quick stop in the event of an unexpected traffic hazard.
They say calculations indicate a vehicle travelling at 90 km/h takes 37 metres to come to a stop. At 179-km/h, that distance increases to 148 metres, “which is equivalent to more than one football field in length.”
“The faster you go, the longer it takes to stop and Highway 1 is quite curvy and you don’t know what’s around the next turn,” said Richter.
“When somebody is driving at such excessive speed, it increases the stopping distance and it decreases the reactionary time and ability to stop.”
Sgt. Darrin Turnbull, supervisor of Alberta RCMP Traffic, said the unit strives to enhance public safety by reducing harm and hazardous behaviours on Alberta roadways through strategic partnerships, enforcement, education and crime reduction initiatives.
“Speeding is just not worth the risk it poses to everyone on our roadways,” he said in a press release.
“Alberta RCMP Traffic will continue our enforcement and education efforts to protect the safety of all road users.”
To stay safe on the roads this May long weekend, police advise drivers to always drive to conditions, give themselves a few extra minutes to get to their destination, stick to posted speed limits and be aware of lower speed limits in playground and construction zones.
“Together, we can help reduce injury collisions and fatalities on Alberta highways,” said Turnbull.