CPS to launch Operation Impact to curb dangerous driving
Camrose Police Service is launching Operation Impact this weekend to curb dangerous driving. File/ Postmedia Network
Camrose Police Service will be out in full force this Thanksgiving weekend cracking down on bad drivers.
CPS will focus in on four areas: impaired driving (both alcohol and drug related), aggressive driving, and seat belt enforcement. The push this weekend is part of Operation Impact through the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, and runs from Oct. 6-9.
With this weekend kicking off the holiday season with turkey day, followed by Halloween, Christmas and New Year’s all within a few months, police departments from around the country are using it as an opportunity to educate the public.
“Getting that message out early is really important to remind people that we’re out there, we’re looking, we’re trying to curb these types of behaviours,” said Const. Adam Belanger from the CPS traffic division.
According to a 2012 report from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, crashes involving alcohol and or drugs are the leading criminal cause of death in Canada. Approximately four people are killed each day in crashes involving alcohol and or drugs. That year there were 2,546 crash deaths, of those 1,497 involved drivers who had some alcohol and or drug presence in their system, though that report does not specify impairment levels.
Belanger says impaired driving has gotten better since his time on the force, but it is important to remain vigilant.
“It’s not as prevalent now … people are getting the message,” he said.
“It still happens, I don’t know that we’ll ever cure that behaviour but it definitely still happens.”
Belanger says he sees different patterns in different age groups when it comes to bad driving.
With young people, the big issue is distracted driving. Though technology is improving these habits — Bluetooth allows for hands-free calling while the latest iPhone update gives the option to automatically turn off all calls, texts and notifications when the phone senses it is in a moving vehicle — there is still a constant pull to electronic devices.
“Nowadays the phone is probably one of the most important things for a young person to have with them, even to have that Pavlovian reflex when the phone goes off you have to grab it, even when you’re in the midst of driving. It’s a tough habit to break.”
Seat belt violations, meanwhile, are definitely an issue with drivers in the 40-and-up age group. In this case it comes down to whether a driver grew up before 1987 when seat belt laws came into effect.
“Some of these kids born since then have never known a day when you didn’t have to wear your seat belt,” said Belanger. “It’s never something they’ve thought of so they’re always buckling up.”
Safe driving practices are heightened as the snow starts to fly and the weather gets colder as what we went through earlier this week.
AMA recommends swapping your snow tires in once the temperatures consistently drop below 7 Celsius as all-season tires start to lose their elasticity and grip.
But Belanger says safe driving practices will make a huge difference to staying alive on the road, and they will be looking for people tailgating, speeding, unsafe lane changes, passing on the right and other careless driving actions.
“Every year we see it, when it gets cold again people need to be reminded to adjust their following distance,” said Belanger. “On dry pavement you’re going to stop a lot better than on icy roads. It’s those things that people need to remember and it takes a little bit of time for people to remember it, but it does come through eventually.”