Greater Victoria police departments are gearing up to make roads a safer place for the last, busiest and one of the most deadly long weekends of the summer.
Victoria police Const. Mike Russell says the Counter Attack and Late Night, Great Night programs will be operating ensuring alcohol doesn’t fuel any problems. As well, police will be patrolling and targeting the downtown core.
“It’s going to be a busy weekend for us. We have a lot of the university students that are back, and they typically congregate downtown,” he said.
Saanich police will focus on the roadways, cracking down on speed, alcohol and overall bad driving behaviour.
“Anywhere people and vehicles might congregate or travel to will be a focus for us,” said Sgt. Dean Jantzen. “We have a significant complement of officers working this weekend … targeting our main through roads: the highways, McKenzie (Avenue), Quadra (Street).”
According to ICBC, there are an average of five fatalities on B.C. roads over the Labour Day long weekend, along with 745 crashes, 515 of which result in injuries.
“Forty per cent of these occur at intersections,” Jantzen said. “If everybody vowed to approach intersections with caution and reduce their speed, that would have a significant impact on these statistics that we put out regularly.”
The joint-law enforcement Making the Malahat Safer campaign will still be in effect, as officers “will continue to aggressively enforce traffic laws on this dangerous stretch of highway,” according to an RCMP press release.
Since the Canada Day long weekend, officers have issued more than 1,460 violation tickets on the Malahat – 1,198 of which have been for speeding.
Jantzen acknowledged the resurgence of university students this weekend, as Saanich is home to the University of Victoria and two Camosun College campuses. He said police will take that into consideration during weekend enforcement, as the road accesses to and from UVic and Camosun get noticeably more congested.