Nfld. & Labrador

Too few police on the road to deter bad drivers, commuter says

A woman who drives from Conception Bay North to Mount Pearl every weekday says people drive recklessly because they don't expect to be stopped by police.

Pauline Quinlan says driving the speed limit on the highway is 'like I'm not even moving'

Pauline Quinlan drives both Veterans Memorial Highway and the Trans-Canada Highway to get to her job in Mount Pearl and says she rarely sees a police cruiser. (Sherry Vivian/CBC)

A woman who drives from Conception Bay North to Mount Pearl every weekday says people drive recklessly because they don't expect to be stopped by police.

Pauline Quinlan, who lives in North River and was involved in a serious collision about a year and a half ago, said she is still nervous on the road.

"Everybody drives too fast. I drive between 100, 110 [km/h] on the highway. Everybody goes past me … to me, that's very disturbing. It says that there's something wrong," Quinlan told CBC News.

"On the Trans-Canada, 120, 130, 140, seems to be the going speed and me at 100, it's like I'm not even moving."

Quinlan said she was "disheartened, but not surprised" to hear that the number of tickets handed out by police in Newfoundland in August was down 40 per cent from the year before.

"I'm travelling that highway at the busiest time of the day and maybe once a week I'll see the RCMP," she said. "Because the presence is not there, people are just taking chances." 

Stretched too thin

Quinlan said she doesn't blame the Mounties. They're doing a good job with the resources they have, she said, but don't have the numbers to handle serious crime and patrol the roads.

"It's a huge impact. You know, people think, 'I'm just going to get away with it.'"

Quinlan says the federal government should increase the RCMP budget so police can have more highway patrols. Now, she says, drivers feel they aren't being watched. (CBC)

Two or three times a week would be enough to keep drivers on their toes, she said, and keep people from speeding or texting — or other activities.

"I see everything from people putting on makeup, people eating breakfast, while I'm driving to work. It's very distracting."

Quinlan has started a petition to get more passing lanes on Veterans Memorial Highway, the main route out of Conception Bay North.

But she acknowledged that will take time — and winter is coming on.

"It terrifies me," she said. "If you had RCMP on that highway every day, people would be more cautious … we need more officers."

With files from Here & Now and St. John's Morning Show

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