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Police aim to reduce traffic deaths with increased enforcement

By Suzanne Coolen [1]

BELLEVILLE – Police are targeting bad drivers over the next three months, looking to reduce possible fatal accidents and similar offences as part of a nation-wide blitz, the deputy chief said last week.

Deputy Chief Paul VandeGraaf said the idea of the selected enforcement is to raise awareness in traffic safety and focus on reducing deaths and injuries related to poor driving behavior.

“Traffic crimes cost society more, devastate more Canadian families and inflict more physical insult than all other crimes combined,” he said.

According to Transport Canada, in 2011, there were 2,006 vehicle related fatalities and a total of 166,725 injuries.

Selective Traffic Enforcement Program, an initiative of police services Canada-wide, was implemented by Belleville police in January 2013. Each month, police focused on a different area of traffic safety with the results posted at the end of each month. The new model will see the selected enforcements spread over three months or quarterly and the focus will be on a group of offences rather than just one.

The current quarter from April to the end of June is focusing on six areas of traffic safety:

Speed enforcement in school and community safety zones: “With the weather changing, the kids now have spring fever and many will be walking, riding bikes and skateboarding to school and we want people to pay attention to speed in the school zones,” VandeGraaf said.
Seatbelts and child restraints: “With the change from heavy winter clothing and snowsuits to lighter clothing, seatbelts and child restraints need to be adjusted to fit,” VandeGraaf said.
The use of handheld communication devices: Distracted driving is now the number one cause of traffic fatalities in Ontario. According to the OPP, 78 people died in Ontario in 2013 in distracted-driving-related accidents, surpassing the number of impaired-driving and speed-related fatalities. The current fines have increased from $150 to $280 for using a hand held device while driving.
Problematic intersections: The goal of this enforcement is to increase the number of people who obey traffic signs and signals that are high in collisions. The top three intersections in the city are Bridge Street East and Pinnacle Street, North Front and College Street, and Bell Boulevard and Sidney Street.
Cyclists: This enforcement aims to decrease the amount of traffic signal and sign infractions by cyclists and E-Bike riders.
Unsafe movements on high-volume streets: This is targeting streets that are high in traffic volume to help decrease the number of people who engage in dangerous driving behaviors such as unsafe lane changes. Police have identified the streets in Belleville with the highest amount of traffic as North Front Street, Bell Boulevard and Sidney Street.

The results of the enforcement program will be shared with the community at the end of each month on the police departments website: www.police.belleville.on.ca [2]

Vandegraaf said that the program has definitely made a positive impact because city council has been able to use the information collected with the city works and engineering department to identify problematic roads. He added that other targeted areas have seen improvements such as a reduction in speeding in school zones.


Higher traffic fines coming  [3]

Distracted driving concerns Loyalist students
Distracted driving concerns Loyalist students
Distracted driving concerns Loyalist students
Distracted driving concerns Loyalist students
Distracted driving concerns Loyalist students