In three hours, the RCMP handed out 68 tickets to Fort St. John drivers. It was part of a larger crack-down on road violations.
One man was forced to park his car at the Catholic Church in Fort St. John and walk the rest of his way home. He was driving without a license and was one of the many drivers caught in a stationary road check.
“They gave out piles of tickets for seatbelts, cell phone use, speeding and stuff like that,” said Corporal Jodi Shelkie.
The Fort St. John RCMP, in addition to Peace Region Traffic Services, operated the road check on Thursday afternoon for three hours.
Constable Carlee Lussier, of the integrated road safety unit, said this road check was a “proactive approach” to “high-risk drivers.”
The team had one vehicle stationed a few blocks before the church to watch for drivers who were flaunting the rules of the road. As violators approached, there were police officers with handheld stop signs waving them into the parking lot.
The six-member team issued 68 violations in that time. These infractions included 25 seatbelt infractions, 14 speed offences, seven use of cell phone while driving, two drive without a license, two drive without insurance, one criminal interdiction and 17 other vehicle-related infractions.
However, the police presence was not necessarily welcomed. Someone made a large plywood sign that said “RCMP ahead” a few block back from the checkpoint.
“And they’re still not putting on their seatbelts,” said Shelkie.
“Although a significant number of drivers were stopped, the RCMP would like to thank the members of the public for their initiative in notifying drivers of the police presence,” Lussier said.
“Because of a hand-made sign, more drivers were able to be advised of the importance of following the law while operating a motor vehicle without being stopped.”
Lussier explained the dangers of driving without a seatbelt. She noted that at 50 kilometres per hour, in a head-on collision a 150 pound adult, without a seatbelt, would strike the inside of the vehicle, collide with other occupants or get thrown from the car with the same force as a truck weighing three and a half tons. At the same time, an unrestrained 25-pound child would be thrown forward with the same force as a 1,200-pound baby elephant.
Transport Canada’s website stated that 93 per cent of Canadians wear their seatbelts; however, the seven per cent of Canadians who don’t wear seatbelts account for almost 40 per cent of fatalities in vehicle collisions.
Lussier also explained that it’s important not to speed because “the faster you go, the longer it takes to stop.”
She said that at 30 kms per hour, it takes 18 metres to come to a full stop, while at 80 kms per hour, it takes 76 metres to come to a full stop. She added that 110 kms per hour, it takes 126 metres to stop, which is the length of 12 school buses.
“It is important to remember that there are not just motorists on the road, but also pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists,” Lussier said. “Remember to take time to properly secure yourself and your passengers.”