Safe roads focus of campaign

Operation Impact - public education of safe driving practices. Some drivers received a ticket - sort of an extra reading assignment.

Last weekend (Oct. 11 – 14) marked Operation Impact, a national campaign to make Canada’s roads the safest in the world.

This special weekend police initiative was designed to remind people that an essential part of the enforcement job is to save lives and reduce injuries on our roadways.

“Educating the public in safe driving practices is a priority,” said RCMP Sgt. Derrick Donovan in a press release issued prior to the weekend. “The focus is on behaviours that put drivers, passengers and other road users most at risk: impaired driving, seat belt use, and all aspects related to aggressive and distracted driving.”

RCMP say that in the West Kootenays, there has been six to eight deaths per year and several serious injuries related to vehicle collisions.

“These are just numbers, but they represent moms, dads, sisters, brothers, loved ones, co-workers, neighbors,” said Donovan.

Following the weekend Donovan issued another press release. During the campaign West Kootenay Traffic Services and Integrated Road Safety Unit issued 88 violations for speed and aggressive driving, seven for seat belts, four distracted driving (cell phones or texting) and several assorted traffic.

Police also apprehended three impaired drivers and issued four driving suspensions for three days for alcohol or 24 hours for drugs.

“There were no serious collisions on the weekend but Police have concerns with the drivers found under the influence of alcohol or drugs on the weekend,” said Donovan.

“The deaths, pain and broken hearts that result from carelessness behind the wheel can be prevented,” he said. “Police agencies across the country are collaborating on this project because they have seen more than enough of that, and because they know that the involvement of the driving public is essential to achieve safer streets and highways.”

The date for Operation Impact was strategically chosen. It is a significant long weekend with more people traveling and a higher risk of traffic crashes.