It was a busy couple of months for City of Grande Prairie Enforcement Services Officers as they dealt with a deluge of speeders in school zones.
Despite school only kicking off in September, the first six weeks of the enforcement program, both in-person and automated, resulted in 2,211 violations in school zones and playground zones across Grande Prairie. 218 tickets were handed out by officers, another 1,993 violations were issued via Automated Traffic Enforcement, which averaged a total of seven violations an hour.
Enforcement Services Manager Kelly Kokesh says officers try to get out there the first week of school, not only to show a presence, but to do as much warning as possible, but says after that, tickets will be issued.
“We’ve done more things now in the school zones than ever before, but from what I’ve seen the last seven years, numbers are really high, especially in that first month and a half,” he says.
“We just try to get the word out to the public in the most effective means possible so it doesn’t continue throughout the whole school year.”
Kokesh says additions like flashing speed indicator signs, and visible presence in the zones were expected to be a bigger deterrent than currently showing, however, he isn’t losing optimism that drivers will slow down the remainder of the year.
“We are deploying marked vehicles, not unmarked, and our peace officers are doing conventional enforcement in fully reflective vests and marked vehicles,” he says.
“I would certainly not mind if people didn’t speed in school zones, we could then spend our resources doing other things and helping the community in other ways, but I’m not sure what the answer would be to slow people down.”
The numbers released by Enforcement Services are in addition to those released by the RCMP earlier in the autumn, which saw over 100 speeding tickets handed out over the first two days of school zones being back in effect.