Police conduct traffic blitz on Penticton roads

RCMP still seeing numerous drivers using cellphones while behind the wheel

  • Apr. 24, 2012 9:00 a.m.

People using electronic devices while driving remains a concern for RCMP.

A spring traffic blitz conducted by the Penticton RCMP municipal traffic section and the community safety team plainclothes members laid 66 charges under the Motor Vehicle Act to drivers for a number of issues including using cellphones.

“To be honest, it wasn’t that surprising to me because what we found doing a plainclothes operation was very similar to what you see when you drive around town as a regular civilian. Whenever I am out driving, there are people on their phones and people blowing stop signs all over the place,” said Cpl. Ted Manchulenko.

“People’s habits change when they see a marked police car, but when they are not expecting to be observed, they are not exactly following all the rules.”

On April 11, and sporadically on April 12, plainclothes officers were on stationary and moving patrols, observing traffic flows and infractions such as cellphone use, not wearing seat-belts and intersection violations.

Manchulenko said the plainclothes officers would alert uniformed officers on duty to address the violations observed.

According to RCMP, cellphone usage and intersection infractions were almost equally split among the totals. RCMP said utilizing any electronic device such as a cellphone, or failing to stop at a stop sign carries a fine of $167.

“For $167 it is pretty simple, if it rings pull over. Many people don’t seem to want to do that,” said Manchulenko.

RCMP said speeding was also a concern, with the majority of drivers ticketed travelling 20 km/h over the posted limit. Speeding fines start at $138 and rapidly rise to impoundment of a driver’s vehicle found to be going 40 km/h over the posted limit.

Almost a dozen written warnings were also handed out for various deficiencies or concerns.

Manchulenko added people rolling through stop signs and intersections also continue to be an issue within the city.

“We are not trying to jump on everybody, but we were targeting the people that weren’t even rolling through a stop sign. They were really rolling, not even slowing down in some instances for the stop sign, said Manchulenko.

“It was a quick come to the corner, the foot barely touches the brake, and they were gone. Those were the people we were specifically targeting.”

Manchulenko said RCMP stats in Penticton show that intersections are a major area of concern relating to motor vehicle accidents. RCMP said other projects coming soon will be focused on different public safety concerns such as pedestrians and cyclists.

“With the busy summer season just ahead, Penticton RCMP are asking for everyone’s co-operation in making our roadways safe for all that use them,” said Sgt. Rick Dellebuur.

“This would entail turning off electronic hand-held devices while in the car, maintaining intersection safety and observing the posted speed limits.”