British Columbia

Campground owner places decoy cop car near road in bid to slow speeders

The owner of a family campground and RV park near Kamloops B.C. is hoping the clever placement of his father's white car will scare drivers into slowing down at a busy highway crossing.

'There's families going across, seniors, pets, little kids,' says resort operator

To access the beaches of Monte Lake, guests at the local campground and RV park have to cross Highway 97, where drivers frequently speed around sharp corners, according to resort owner Dennis Smith. (Dennis Smith)

The owner of a campground in British Columbia's Interior has placed a decoy police car next to a highway, hoping to slow speeding drivers and make crossing the road safer for children and seniors.

Dennis Smith, who owns the Monte Lake Resort campground southeast of Kamloops, B.C., said drivers often speed around the road's sharp corners, some of which have a suggested speed limit of 70 kilometres an hour.

The decoy car is aimed at slowing those drivers.

"There's families going across, seniors, pets, little kids," Smith told Shelley Joyce, host of CBC's Daybreak Kamloops.

Smith's campground and RV park is a family-oriented resort. Guests have to cross the road to get to the resort's namesake lake.

Smith has used a speed gun to clock drivers, and while most come by at speeds between 70 and 90 kilometres per hour, many are going much faster putting pedestrians at risk.

Resembles Mountie logo

So Smith took action, placing a car, which belongs to his dad, beside the road, strategically nestled behind a large sign. The white, 1992 Grand Marquis bears a striking resemblance to a police cruiser.

The car has a Monte Lake Resort logo along with the resort's phone number on its side panel. At a distance, that decal could also pass for a Mountie logo.

The roof rack bar across the top of the vehicle adds to the effect, as does the oversized licence plate holder on the front of the vehicle. 

Smith said he hasn't had any pushback from local law enforcement.

"We've had it out there and we've been told it's our property, it's a white car and it's not really impersonating a police car, it just happens to be there," he said.

​"When you come around a corner and you see a white car, whether you're doing anything wrong or not, it registers."

Working with ministry

Smith said the Ministry of Transportation has increased the number of signs in the area, but he'd like to see the legal speed limit lowered as the suggested limit is not enforceable.

The ultimate fix, he said, would be an underpass or overpass that would completely remove pedestrians from the highway but that's an expensive proposal.

While guests have told Smith they would like to see a solution to the speeding cars, he said most of them just accept it and cross carefully.

In the meantime, the white car seems to be working.

With files from CBC Radio One's Daybreak Kamloops