Airdrie Integrated Traffic Unit steps up enforcement over weekend
Rocky View Publishing
The Airdrie Integrated Traffic Unit (ITU) was out in force last weekend patrolling Highway 2.
On Aug. 23, the ITU conducted aircraft-based traffic enforcement along Highway 2 just north of Airdrie. A total of 28 vehicles were stopped during four hours of enforcement for offenses including speeding and following too closely.
The aircraft used for the enforcement was the RCMP ‘K’ Division helicopter, a 2007 Eurocopter AS350-A-Star.
Airdrie ITU Sheriff Jason Graw explained the rationale behind using aircraft for traffic enforcement.
“We know that speed is a factor in about 25 per cent of fatal and serious injury collisions that occur on Highway 2,” said Graw.
“Using an aircraft as an observation platform gives our officers the ability to spot vehicles that are travelling conspicuously faster than the flow of traffic and gives us another tool to use to help slow some of these vehicles down (and) in turn reduce the number of serious injury and fatal collisions.”
Aircraft-based traffic enforcement is conducted by placing a specially trained officer in the aircraft as an observer. This observer uses a stopwatch to time vehicles on the highway as they travel through marked enforcement areas.
The observer is also able to spot vehicles that are following too closely, making unsafe or multiple lane changes and drivers that may be impaired by drugs or alcohol.
“Aircraft enforcement is a tool that ITUs throughout Alberta will be using on a more frequent basis,” said Graw. “Motorists should bear this in mind as they travel on provincial highways and lower their speed accordingly.”
Child seat inspections
Only 25 per cent of the child seats Airdrie ITU inspected on Aug. 24 and 25, were in compliance with the law.
Members of the ITU conducted child safety seat inspections for a 90-minute period between 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. near CrossIron Mills mall in Balzac.
More than 50 seats were inspected for compliance with the applicable provincial and federal safety regulations and officers issued a total of 29 tickets for non-compliance.
Some of the common items that officers noted at the child safety seat inspections were: internal harness straps that were too loose or not buckled at all, child safety seats that were not securely installed in the vehicle and forward-facing child seats that were not properly secured with a tether strap.
In Alberta, all children who weigh less than 40 pounds must be properly secured in a child safety seat while in a moving vehicle, the seat must be properly installed and the child must be properly secured into the safety seat.
“This is important because collision data shows that vehicle occupants who are properly restrained are 50 per cent more likely to be completely uninjured in a collision,” stated Airdrie ITU Sheriff Jason Graw.
In the cases where major safety concerns were present, the issues were corrected and the driver was ticketed; with minor issues, the parents were educated about the proper use of the safety seat and sent on their way without being issued a ticket.
Collisions on Highway 2
Traffic on Highway 2 just south of Didsbury was reduced to one lane in both directions after a pair of collisions on Aug. 24.
Members of the Airdrie ITU were dispatched to respond to a collision involving a 2003 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck that careened into a cable barrier in the centre median. The driver of the truck was a 36-year-old man from Seattle, Washington. He was the sole occupant of the vehicle and was uninjured.
The RCMP believe the driver may have fallen asleep and he was subsequently charged with failing to stay in his lane.
A second collision occurred a short time later as a result of the traffic congestion caused by the first collision.
A grey Chevrolet Silverado pulling a holiday trailer was travelling northbound on Highway 2 and police say he was unable to stop safely for the traffic at the scene of the first collision.
As a result, the Silverado swerved into the east ditch to avoid colliding with the vehicle ahead of it, at which time the trailer rolled over on to its side.
Neither the driver of the Silverado, a 19-year-old man from Edmonton, or the passenger, a 22-year-old woman from Spruce Grove, were injured in the collision and no charges were laid against the driver.
The Airdrie ITU completed its investigation of a collision that occurred on July 28, involving a 61-year-old man from Calgary who has now been charged with one count of careless driving.
On Aug. 1, the Airdrie City View reported the incident. At the time, the RCMP indicated the driver of a 1997 Acura EL was travelling northbound on Highway 2 about four kilometres south of the Acme Road overpass, when he pulled onto a gravel approach and attempted to make a U-turn.
When the driver of the Acura pulled into southbound traffic, he collided with a 2001 Dodge Ram that was pulling a trailer.
The Dodge subsequently left the roadway and collided with a cable barrier that divides northbound and southbound traffic.
None of the five occupants of the Dodge sustained any injuries in the collision.
If you have information on any unsolved crime, call Airdrie RCMP at 403-945-7200 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).