WESTLOCK - Compared to past years, the 2020 Labour Day long weekend, typically one of the busiest for the RCMP, was relatively quiet.
RCMP Westlock Traffic Services Unit Sgt. Alex Da Silva said officers mainly centred their attention on Highways 2, 44, 18 and 33 and handed out roughly 100 tickets — a number that he called relatively standard compared to most weekends.
Jurisdictions that fall under the Westlock TSU includes the Town of Westlock, Town of Barrhead, Town of Slave Lake, Hamlet of Wabasca-Desmarais and any other hamlets/villages and any other roadways and highways within Westlock County, the County of Barrhead, Woodlands County, MD of Lesser Slave River and MD of Opportunity.
“The May long weekend and the September long weekend are the two biggest long weekends — the first one of the year and the last one before everyone goes back to school. But there were points and times when there wasn’t anybody on the highways. Maybe it was due to COVID. I know many students had already started school, so maybe that changed things for some people as well,” said Da Silva, who worked a shift Sept. 7.
“There was a four-hour window where it was busy and then after six in Westlock there wasn’t anybody on the highways again. I don’t know if everyone headed home at the same time, or if a lot of people just decided to stay home for the weekend.
“Our biggest thing is to make sure everyone gets home safely and there weren’t any serious collisions and that’s the stat we want to avoid on the long weekends.”
From Sept. 4-7, Alberta RCMP issued a total of 2,592 traffic tickets and 412 warnings.
Overall, 1,916 individuals were ticketed for speeding, 46 received fines for distracted driving, and 99 motorists were charged with impaired driving. Additionally, Alberta RCMP responded to 178 motor vehicle collisions, which included three fatalities.
Locally of note, Da Silva said RCMP caught one driver travelling at 160 km/h in 100 km/h zone.
“And that becomes an automatic court appearance,” Da Silva noted. “And in court as of late for anything over 50 it’s probably a big fine and possibly a three- to six-month driving suspension, plus demerits.”
Back to school
With school buses back on the road, Da Silva said so far drivers are exercising caution as they haven’t received any complaints of drivers passing buses with their emergency equipment engaged.
“If there’s anything wrong (with buses) we start getting complaints, either from schools or people. But I haven’t seen anything yet from my guys, so that’s good,” said Da Silva.