A ticket every other minute.
That’s how often Delta Police traffic section officers stopped motorists for excessive speed during yesterday morning’s enforcement blitz.
On April 26, the Delta Police Department announced it will be giving advance notice of enforcement blitzes once a week through the newly-created Twitter account for the DPD’s traffic unit (@DPDTraffic). The department kicked off the new policy by telling its followers that officers would be at the foot of Nordel Way at 11 a.m. that morning.
It would seem many drivers did not get the message.
Police handed out 28 speeding tickets over the 60 minutes officers were on the scene, despite only targeting vehicles doing 30 km/h or more over the limit. (The posted speed limit along that stretch of Nordel is 60 km/h.)
“Our goal when conducting enforcement is to be fair to the motoring public,” said Staff Sgt. Ryan Hall. “Each officer has … their ability to use their discretion to conduct fair enforcement.”
“Basically what we’re trying to do here is we’re trying to figure out who are the most dangerous people operating on the roadway and deal with that percentage of people, as opposed to the people who might be within normal driving even though they might be slightly over the limit.”
Reaction on social media to the Reporter’s earlier story on the DPD’s new approach to enforcement was decidedly mixed. Some commented that police ought to be focused on catching speeders rather than warning them to avoid certain areas, while others dismissed the enforcement blitz as mere a money grab for the department and the City of Delta.
(According to Delta Police public affairs coordinator Cris Leykauf, revenue from tickets goes to the province, not the DPD or the city. “From a revenue perspective, it doesn’t matter to us how many tickets our officers write,” she wrote in reply to a Facebook comment.)
Other commenters took issue with the location of the speed trap, noting the difficulty in keeping to the posted limit along such a long, steep section of road. Some suggested enforcement efforts ought to be focused on school zones and frequently travelled residential streets, such as 80th Avenue or 116th Street.
Hall explained that the decision was made to focus on that morning Nordel as it tops a recently released list of collision locations in Delta.
“There have been a significant number of collisions down at the bottom of that hill, including fatal collisions, and so we’re targeting those areas,” Hall said. The traffic unit will be visiting other high-accident areas over the coming weeks.
Hall said the DPD’s traffic unit is focused lowering the number and severity of crashes through what he calls the four E’s: enforcement, engineering (for example, road improvements), education and engagement with the community. Letting drivers know when and where speed and distracted driving checks are going to be is designed to address the latter two.
“Traffic enforcement occurs every minute of every hour of every day,” Hall said. “What we’re trying to do is increase our community engagement. If we could tell people that these are our top collision locations and people become aware of them and … collisions go down and we don’t write tickets, that would be a win.”
“However, the reality of human behaviour is such that, when we conduct enforcement and we conduct it in part with community engagement, we find that collisions go down.”
Reducing accidents increases public safety, and that, Hall said, is ultimately the department’s number one concern.
“When a person leaves their house, they have an expectation that they’re going to arrive at their destination safely,” he said. “We’re working hard to make sure that everyone gets to where they want to go safely.”
– with files from Grace Kennedy