Impatient drivers in Nanaimo might want to be a tad more careful to whom they “flip the bird” while passing cars doing the speed limit. It might be Nanaimo’s chief of police.
During his quarterly report to city council Monday, RCMP Supt. Cameron Miller mentioned such behaviour by other drivers on the old Island Highway.
“For those of us who commute in the morning, around 6:30, 7:30 in the morning, the Island Highway’s a freeway…” Miller said. “It’s not a 50 zone – it’s like an 80, 90 zone. Signs say it’s 50, but I get people passing me, flipping me the bird. Unfortunately, I’m driving in my own car, so there’s not a lot I can do, but what I could do is I get my traffic guys out there to set up a couple projects.”
Miller’s expression of frustration followed a list of traffic violation and fatal incident statistics. In 2019 there already have been six traffic-related fatalities as of April 3 and 13 fatal collisions in the past 12 months.
In January and February, police tallied 41 alcohol-related driving offences, compared to 28 for the same period in 2018. Throughout 2018 police issued 157 immediate 90-day roadside driving prohibitions, plus two 30-day driving prohibitions, four seven-day- and 34 three-day prohibitions and 70 24-hour suspensions for alcohol or drugs.
“That’s just too many,” Miller said.
He said police are combining enforcement with education through ICBC to try to reverse a “trend that’s obviously going in the wrong direction.”
Speed was a contributor in some of the fatalities. On March 28 and 29, police ran a commuter enforcement blitz for just one hour each day and issued 47 tickets and one warning and with summer coming, Miller said traffic will increase and drivers will have shorter fuses.
To get traffic slowed down, Miller said he has called upon the RCMP Integrated Road Safety Unit, a provincial level RCMP traffic enforcement unit based in Nanaimo, and the Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement unit.
“So we’re working with them and a CVSE to set up a number of check stops and just get out, get more marked units out and present and just try and slow the traffic down,” Miller said.