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RCMP watching highway on long weekend

Labour Day efforts the first of many initiatives to make Sea to Sky safer

The Sea to Sky Highway will be busy over the Labour Day weekend, but anyone trying to push the pace is going to come face to face with RCMP officers.

The Sea to Sky Traffic Services is launching an initiative to make Highway 99 one of the safest highways in the world. Working with officers from the Lower Mainland Integrated Road Safety Unit and the West Vancouver Police Department, they will focus their attention in hot spots (high crash locations) from Lions Bay to Pemberton. The plan is to target aggressive and impaired drivers as well as unbelted occupants.

“We’re tired of seeing the senseless crashes that happen as a result of a few people driving like they’re in a Nascar Race,” said Cst. Dave Babineau of RCMP Traffic Services in B.C. “This highway is safe as long as you drive it the way it was meant to be driven. If you were to look back at the fatal or serious injury crashes that have shut down Highway 99 over the last number of years you would find that aggressive driving (passing on double solid lines, tailgating, driving too fast for conditions, etc.) and impaired driving are the main factors in these collisions. That tells me they’re avoidable. Driving aggressively and driving while impaired are choices — bad choices that affect everyone.”

The Sea to Sky Traffic Services is committed to road safety and vows that this weekend’s efforts are merely the first of many such initiatives. The enforcement styles for this and future projects will vary from traditional (marked police cars and uniformed officers) to unconventional (plain clothes, unmarked police cars, unconventional vehicles). The goal is to do whatever it takes to keep the road users safe and the highway open.

Through education and enforcement police are convinced the number of serious crashes will be drastically reduced, and that is the ultimate goal — saving lives.

The crackdown on the Sea to Sky Highway this weekend is part of a province-wide traffic enforcement effort by RCMP and local police forces. They advise drivers to plan ahead, including allowing enough to time to reach destinations with the increased congestion that is part of a long weekend. They also urge drivers to ensure every occupant is properly wearing their seatbelt, to drive defensively and to avoid alcohol if driving.

“The B.C. day long weekend is proof that together we can make roads safe,” Babineau said. “There were no traffic deaths related to alcohol, aggressive driving or unbelted deaths the entire weekend. This on a weekend that historically has been one of the worst.

“Drivers must take personal responsibility for their own safety and the safety of the people traveling with them,” Babineau added. “Make the right choices — you will be safer and the number of traffic deaths will be reduced not only on long weekends but every day.”

RCMP also remind drivers that school zone speed limits are back in effect on Tuesday.