Police safety blitz targets dangerous drivers
Distracted driving prosecutions double between 2011 and 2012
Policing agencies across the country are cracking down on traffic violations this week and Fredericton officers are finding many drivers are having a difficult time putting down their cellphones.
Police officers are on the watch this week for signs of dangerous driving and are handing out hundreds of tickets. One Fredericton Police officer said he handed out more than 50 tickets in one shift this week.
The tickets could be for infractions ranging from impaired driving to speeding, but statistics show police officers are writing an increasing number of distracted driving tickets.
The number of prosecutions for distracted driving has jumped to 163 in 2012 from 71 in 2011 and the number of warnings increased to 122 from 69 in the same time period.
Fredericton Police Const. Danielle Carmichael said these statistics are reflective of a larger problem across the country.
"So that's not a positive change, obviously, so that's the reason it's part of the initiative, and that's not just here in Fredericton, it's not just New Brunswick, that's a problem across the country," she said.
The police hope the crackdown on dangerous driving offences will cause people to slow down, buckle up or put down their cellphones.
For the past two years Fredericton statistics show little has changed in the number of tickets handed out to impaired drivers, speeders or those who fail to use their seatbelts.
Road safety lessons
Dhirendra Shukla said he was motivated to take more caution behind the wheel after a tragic car accident.
Shukla hired a young person for a summer job a few years ago, but he was killed when a driver didn't yield at a yield sign.
"It's tough, a tough way to realize these lessons and it's unfortunate it takes these lessons to really internalize these things, but I'm trying to be very careful," he said.
The increase in enforcement will continue with roadblocks and ticketing for the remainder of the week across Canada.
The number of impaired driving charges in 2012 was 118 compared to 130 in 2011 but the number of seven-day suspension warnings increased to 65 from 28 in the same period.
There was also a small increase in the number of motorists caught driving more than 25 kilometres over the speed limit. In 2012, 3,202 tickets were issued compared to 2,928 in 2011, according to the police.
Meanwhile, Fredericton Police officers witnessed a drop in the number of seatbelt infractions between 2011 and 2012. The number of drivers fined for not wearing a seatbelt fell to 216 from 273 and the number of fines for passengers dropped to 22 from 61.