RCMP target speeders, aggressive drivers on QEII
Ponoka RCMP Highway Patrol have hit the QEII hard and fast with Operation Impact aimed at making it a safer highway.

By Lisa Joy
Globe Editor
Tuesday October 17, 2006

Ponoka RCMP Highway Patrol are cracking down on speeders and aggressive drivers on the QEII. They patrol the QEII from Hwy 611 north of Ponoka to south of Red Deer at Gasoline Alley. Here, Cst. Les Squires of the Ponoka RCMP Traffic Services operates the laser.

Ponoka RCMP Highway Patrol have hit the QEII hard and fast with Operation Impact aimed at making it a safer highway.

"We havenít had a project out there for quite awhile because of manpower and resources," said Ponoka RCMP Highway Patrol Cst. Chris Noble in a phone interview. "But now we have the bodies to do it and have made the plans and have just gone out and done it."

The Ponoka RCMP Highway Patrol have seven members with one more arriving in mid November, and covers the QEII from Hwy 611, north of Ponoka, all the way south to Gasoline Alley in Red Deer.

"We are targeting aggressive drivers and targeting high speeds," said Cst. Noble who added it is possible to make the fast-paced Calgary-Edmonton freeway safer.

"We can if we do that with consistent enforcement and keep each unitís manpower up to strength as much as possible."

This project was initiated after the Ponoka RCMP Highway Patrol experienced a dangerous September long weekend on the freeway.

"The Friday night there were four collisions. We were just running crazy," said Cst. Noble.

So on the next long weekend during Thanksgiving, Ponoka RCMP Highway Patrol came out full force.
They issued 135 speeding tickets over a 10 hour period, as well as 17 provincial charges including failing to produce documents, equipment violations and no driverís license. They also charged three drivers with no insurance, one with a liquor offence, six seat belt infractions and one 24-hour suspension.

Although the numbers are not in for this year, in 2005, during the Thanksgiving long weekend alone, there were four deaths and 28 injuries on the QEII.

Lacombe Fire Chief Tom Fisher welcomes the Ponoka RCMPís Operation Impact on the QEII.

"Out of all the calls that scare me, sending my people out on the highway is what scares me the most.

"Itís a ribbon of death," added Fisher. "Thatís what I call it."

The Lacombe ambulance also said the RCMP crack down on speeders and aggressive drivers on QEII would help.

"The number of vehicle accidents in the last few years have been considerable and Lacombe ambulance would see this as a positive step," said Ken Kendall, assistant chief executive officer for the Town of Lacombe who is the interim manager of Lacombe and Municipal Ambulance Services. "

Cst. Noble said drivers are not even slowing down for emergency vehicles and workers.

"Thereís still a lot of disregard."

The speed limit is 60 kilometers when passing emergency vehicles such as police, fire, ambulance, tow trucks or construction workers. The fine for disobeying this is $703.