For the next month, members of the HRP/RCMP Integrated Traffic Unit will be educating citizens on the importance of limiting distractions when driving and walking on HRM roadways. This education will take place in-person out on the roads, as well as through an HRP Traffic Cop social media presence.
Historically, traffic-related issues have been among the top complaints raised by citizens. In 2012, HRM saw an increase in pedestrian/vehicle collisions, and the highest rate of pedestrian fatalities in five years. The goal of the pedestrian safety blitz is to change behaviour through education and enforcement.
The Traffic Unit has identified the top intersections where pedestrians have been struck. Designated Traffic Unit members will spend a month stopping drivers and pedestrians who have put their personal safety or the safety of others at risk at these locations. The officers will focus on education – providing tips and suggestions as to how the driver/pedestrian could have acted in a safer manner, as well as information on how much they could have been fined for their infraction. Those who have made serious infractions will be ticketed and/or charged under the Motor Vehicle Act of Nova Scotia. After the initial month of focusing on education, officers will move toward heavy enforcement.
Halifax Regional Police (HRP) and the Nova Scotia RCMP will also use social media to inform and educate both drivers and pedestrians on pedestrian safety, as well as other traffic-related issues. Constable Ray Quesnel, a member of the Traffic Unit, will author the HRP Traffic Cop Facebook page and @HRPTrafficCop Twitter account.
“Our social media sites will also be spaces for citizens to post questions about traffic laws, discuss traffic-related issues and talk about ways we can all work together to keep our roadways safe,” says Cst. Quesnel, who is the first HRP constable to have an official Facebook and Twitter presence.