Photo with 2 notes
March 12, 2012
With students out on their March break, local OPP officers will be focusing on catching speeders and distracted drivers to help keep roads safe.
“Operation Safe Break” began on March 10 and will run until March 18. Officers will have zero tolerance for those who drive distracted, aggressively or speed during the break. The aim of the operation is to help reduce injuries and deaths on the roads, trails and waterways.
Quinte Region Traffic Coalition (QRTC) is a partnership of the Hastings & Prince Edward Counties Health Unit, Belleville Police Service, Stirling-Rawdon Police Service and the OPP detachments serving Central Hastings, Quinte West, Prince Edward County and Bancroft. With this coalition, officers will be out monitoring local roads and reducing the risk of dangerous drivers according to the QRTC.
Distracted driving has been a problem in Ontario for the last few years. Cellphones and GPS units have become one of the biggest distractions for drivers young and old.
The ban on handheld devices has been in effect since Oct. 26, 2009, making it illegal for drivers to talk, text, type, dial or e-mail using handheld communications, with the exception of emergency calls.
According to the Ministry of Transportation, studies have shown that a driver using a cellphone is four times more likely to be in a collision than a driver focused on the road.
Kaytee Townson, 25, of Trenton, was convicted of distracted driving late last year, when she was caught with her phone in hand while driving near her town home.
“I was looking for my phone because I dropped it in my car. I didn’t even see the officer parked over by a stop sign, and when I found my phone, it was in my hand and then the cop was pulling me over a minute later,” said Townson.
“I was distracted because I was bent over looking for my phone when I should have been watching the road. I will definitely pay more attention now after paying the $155 fine.”
Officers don’t need to be parked to catch people for distracted driving. Officers on duty will also catch people when they are stopped at a stoplight, or in parking lots.
“Distracted driving charges are solely based on observation. We have to see it happening. It can be tricky, but as trained police officers, keen observation is a skill of ours,” said Const. Dave Snider of Quinte West OPP.
Provincial Constable Dan Wilton has been a traffic management officer for Quinte West for 31 years, and says that with the new laser radar technology, catching people with distracted driving is becoming easier.
“With the new radars we’ve gotten, we can catch speeding motorists from over 300 metres away, and with the zoom on the scope, we can see into their vehicles and see people eating, or talking on cellphones,” said Wilton.
Cell phones and GPS units aren’t the only causes of distracted driving.
Women who apply makeup while driving, those who adjust the radio or play with CDs, eat or drink, even chat with passengers in their vehicle are distractions. Anything that takes your eyes off the road, or your hands off of the wheel, are distractions and can lead to being charged.
Wilton’s partner, Ray Lalonde, described some stories of his experience of pulling people over who were speeding and eating, applying makeup, and he even pulled over one man who was driving and doing about 115 km/h while reading a cookbook.
“It was probably one of the most bizarre scenarios I’ve ever seen. It was extremely dangerous for him to be driving at that speed and to not have his full attention on the road.” said Lalonde.
“A lot of the time, the people charged with distracted driving aren’t paying enough attention to even realize that the officer on duty is watching them commit the offence. It just proves how dangerous distracted driving can be, and how much of your attention is taken away from the road when you’re on your phone,” said Snider.
Published March 14th online at Qnetnews.ca and in print for the Pioneer Paper.
Article & Photo by Kelly Michelle Gagné
Post with 1 note
A man has been charged with arson in connection with a fire Friday at a Bayside business.
Quinte West OPP have charged the man with arson by negligence and production of a controlled substance
The Quinte West Fire Department was alerted to a fire at Runway Sports at the corner of Aikins Road and Old Highway 2 at 6 a.m.
Firefighters acted quickly at the scene and were able to have the fire doused within 20 minutes. There were no injuries reported at the scene.
“There were extensive damages to the interior of the building,” said Deputy Fire Chief Roger Fournier.
This has not been the only fire for Runway Sports recently.
“The first fire occurred over on Whites Road, Trenton, at their first store location sometime last year,” said Greg King, Quinte West’s fire prevention officer. The cause of the first fire on Whites Road was undetermined.
Runway Sports owner Terry Belch could not be reached by press at this time. Charged is Kerry Brewitt, 21, of Quinte West. He will appear in court March 1.
© Photograph and Article by Kelly Michelle Gagné
Article was published through Qnetnews.ca February 8, 2012.