Saanich police Sgt. Dean Jantzen conducts a CounterAttack road check in the 1400-block of McKenzie Ave. last Thursday. Officers will be conducting similar checks all weekend.

Added long weekend traffic means extra enforcement

Cops gear up for B.C. Day weekend

Motorists be warned: police will be out in droves this long weekend watching for bad driving habits.

Speeding, tailgating, using a cellphone to talk or text and failing to wear seat belts are just a handful of behaviours for which officers will be prepared to hand out tickets. That’s on top of the regular long weekend road checks and CounterAttacks planned throughout the region to curb drinking and driving.

“When it is a long weekend, most peoples’ minds aren’t exactly on driving, it’s on, ‘I’ve got to get to where I’m going,’” said Const. Cordell Phillips, with the Saanich police traffic safety unit.

Saanich’s 16 traffic safety cops will be monitoring highways, connector roads and neighbourhood streets, along with routine patrol officers.

“We generally see a lot more traffic in Saanich because we are the hub of all the municipalities here – we have a lot more road to cover, and most drivers pass through our municipality to get to their destination,” Phillips said.

“A visual (police) presence changes peoples’ driving habits … It shows people that we are out there ticketing, which reminds them to slow down, put your seat belt on, hang up your cellphone.”

VicPD Const. Mike Russell says B.C. Day weekend is statistically one of the busiest long weekends of the year for the amount of traffic on the roads, especially if the weather is nice.

“There’s just a lot people out, either coming in to town to do some sightseeing or going out of town to do camping,” he said.

Victoria will also have roadblocks set up all weekend to help ensure people are being safe in their vehicles.

While officers will no doubt be busy writing tickets, Russell said the goal is to help people reach their destinations safely.

“We will be looking to make sure everybody’s able to enjoy the weekend in a fun and safe way.”

kslavin@saanichnews.com

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