by John Chambers
Patrolling a stretch of Highway 401 from Quinte West to Hamilton Township, west of Port Hope, Northumberland OPP officers have a large responsibility for monitoring speeds on the busy roadway and dealing with motorists who seem oblivious to posted speed limits and often, other drivers.
Shortly after 4 a.m. on August 7 was no different when an officer in an unmarked vehicle was patrolling a section of Highway 401 in Cramahe Township. Observing a Cadillac CTS approaching in his rear-view mirror at an extremely high rate of speed, the officer turned on his radar unit.
According to police the Cadillac CTS did a “nose dive” and reduced its speed radically. When the officer turned off the radar, the driver of the Cadillac pulled out as he passed the unmarked cruiser increased his speed again.
A 28-year-old Quebec man was later charged with speeding (180 km/h) and having a speed measuring warning device.
Northumberland OPP Staff Sgt. Doug Borton said it is hard to determine if the problem of radar detectors is becoming more prevalent but added officers tend to see more of the illegal devices while patrolling 400 series highways.
“Some people are using the radar detectors to determine where we are and that’s why we have stepped it up with the radar detector detectors,” he said. “We have it because of the 401 and the large amount of commuter traffic between Toronto and Montreal.”
While radar enforcement is nothing new for the OPP, Staff Sgt. Borton said the presence of radar detectors by some members of the travelling public has resulted in the OPP stepping up its methods of enforcement.
Radar detector detectors “are fairly wide spread across the OPP,” he said. “We have had one locally for quite some time and (they) have been in existence in the OPP for about five years.”
The fine for travelling 49 km/h over the posted speed limit is $359 while anything over 50 km/h above the limit requires a trip to court.