The Alberta government plans to hire more sheriffs to patrol Highway 63, which has been the scene of several serious crashes including one last week between a passenger bus and tanker truck.
'I can do 105 [km/h] comfortably and I get passed like I'm standing still.' —Nathan Bergen, trucker
For more than a year, eight sheriffs — who work for the Alberta Solicitor General and Public Security — have been enforcing traffic laws on the busy highway between Edmonton and Fort McMurray, in addition to regular RCMP patrols.
The sheriffs have issued an average of 20 tickets a day since September 2006.
"It's been phenomenal: 8,400 violations have been issued. Of that 8,400, 5,800 were for speeding violations," Tim Chander, spokesman for the solicitor general, said Monday.
Even though the tickets could mean hundreds of dollars in fines, demerit points and even licence suspension, somedrivers don't fear the highway patrol, a trucker told CBC News.
"People know their schedule like the back of their hands," said Nathan Bergen, who regularly drives along Highway 63. "They know how they work. It's amazing but you know when you can get away with it and when you can't.
"I can do 105 [km/h] comfortably and I get passed like I'm standing still."
But Chander saidthe patrols show people that they're being watched, adding that the province plans to add more sheriffs in the Fort McMurray-area next year.
"If you're handing out tickets, people see stories on the news, we believe that affects driver behaviour," he said.
"So they tend to slow down hopefully, be more aware of their surroundings, be aware of the weather conditions and being generally neighbourly…to the drivers around them."
Three men injured inthe crash between a Red Arrow bus and a tanker truckon Dec. 13 remainin hospital. One man is in critical but stablecondition; the other two are reported to be in stable condition.