The Carillon - ONLINE EDITION
By: Dave Baxter
Posted: 05/20/2018 8:00 AM
Drivers who are driving in and around the Southeast this month may start to notice a few more police officers out patrolling on gravel roads.
Steinbach RCMP Staff Sgt. Harold Laninga said that thanks to funding received through Manitoba Public Insurance, Steinbach RCMP will have a larger presence on gravel roads in the areas they service throughout the month of May.
Laninga said although some might think that most major accidents happen on major roads and highways, he has seen many tragic incidents and accidents on gravel roads in his time as a police officer.
"I know what can happen and I’ve seen what can happen, and it can have a terrible impact on a lot of people," Laninga said. "The funding is specifically for gravel roads realizing what the dangers are on the gravel roads, and some of the accidents we have seen."
According to Laninga, RCMP out patrolling gravel roads this month will be looking for a wide range of motor vehicle related offences including speeding, not wearing seat belts, running stop signs, and impaired and distracted driving.
Laninga also hopes that residents will get the message that they can’t get away with motor vehicle offences because they are driving on a gravel road.
"I really hope that attitude does not exist, and there is no shortage of gravel roads out there so you can expect to see us out there," he said.
Laninga said Steinbach RCMP also received funding from MPI for a program they ran during April that saw them step up their enforcement to catch distracted drivers, and specifically drivers using cell phones and other handheld devices while driving.
He said that during the month of April, Steinbach RCMP wrote a total of 130 tickets directly related to distracted driving.
"That seems very high to me," Laninga said. "I think the number is high, and I know people are doing it and I’ve seen it, and people are still doing it and it’s very disconcerting."
Laninga said he also hopes that the punishment for distracted driving ultimately becomes more severe and more of a deterrent in Manitoba than it is now.
"I’d like to see a situation where drivers who are ticketed for distracted driving are looking at license suspensions and higher fines and bigger penalties in terms of demerits," Laninga said.
Laninga said that while focusing their efforts on distracted driving during April, Steinbach RCMP also issued tickets for 79 other traffic offences including driving without a seat belt, speeding and running stop signs.
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