Ponoka RCMP Sgt. Chris Smiley says police will be gearing up their traffic program in town. Here he demonstrates the need to obey traffic laws or motorists could face tickets and demerits on their license. Photo by Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

Ponoka RCMP gearing up for traffic program

Police readying to educate and enforce traffic laws in the Ponoka area

Ponoka RCMP are gearing up their traffic enforcement program.

One of the key areas around the detachment’s annual performance plan is to focus on traffic. Sgt. Chris Smiley says officers are ramping up the program to stay in line with what residents want.

Among those areas of focus will be on the east end of Highway 53 and around 57 Avenue, he explained. Where police will continue a strong focus is in school zones, and other areas where traffic is known to be an issue.

That being said, Ponoka RCMP had a strong focus in 2016 to 17 where violation tickets increased strongly with close to 1,000 tickets issued from the general duty office — that’s about a 500 per cent increase, explained Smiley. Much of that was due to the diligence of Mounties patrolling and taking action and applying violations when they were observed, he added.

It’s about finding a life balance.

“I believe that people’s driving habits are an extension of their personality, if one drives aggressive and with little consideration for their neighbours, then that person is likely frantic in other areas of their life,” explained Smiley.

When looking at the tickets issued, about half relate to speeding, Stop Sign and other intersection violations. Approximately 25 per cent of tickets issued include issues such as no seat belts, missing or expired documents or equipment issues.

Read More: Ponoka resident displeased with speeding on Highway 53

Read More: Ponoka mayor gets testy with resident during council meeting

Smiley said the other 25 per cent range from careless driving, alcohol violations and distracted driving. For Smiley, there is a simple fix.

“Put down your smart phone and invite some self reflection upon your own driving habits and chaos in your life,” he offered.

Here are some common offences, fines and demerits that go with them. Alberta licenses allow up to 15 demerits in a two year period, states Alberta Transportation.

Other demerit points can be found on Alberta Transportation’s website within the Driver Guides page.

Speeding tickets vary depending on how fast a person is driving, quick example:

• 5 km/h over = $89, plus two demerits

• 10 over = $105, two demerits

• 20 over = $167, three demerits

• 25 over = $203, three demerits

Fail to stop at Stop Sign

• $388, three demerits

Fail to wear seatbelt

• $155 fine

Distracted driving (enacted in 2016), cell phone, etc.

• $287 fine, three demerits

Consuming alcohol in vehicle

• $287 fine (may enter into an impaired driving investigation)

Transport alcohol in vehicle in easy reach of driver or occupants

• $115

Consuming Cannabis in a vehicle

• $575 fine (may enter into an impaired driving investigation)

Transport cannabis in vehicle in easy reach of driver of occupants

• $115

Fail to show active insurance or registration or drivers licence document

• $233

Muffler produce excessive noise

• $155 fine

The goal is to maintain safe roads but also to educate motorists and what they could face when disobeying road rules.



jeff.heyden-kaye@ponokanews.com

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