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Safety blitz by police gets results

Constable Andrew Gaiswinkler writes a ticket during a CKPS safety blitz on Thursday, March 20. Photo Greg Holden

Constable Andrew Gaiswinkler writes a ticket during a CKPS safety blitz on Thursday, March 20. Photo Greg Holden

By Greg Holden

Police in Chatham have been conducting a driver enforcement blitz over the past few days. The results show CK drivers are too often still using cell-phones, speeding and are not properly using seatbelts. At Grand Ave. and St. Clair Street yesterday, the number of infractions were on display as police pulled over a constant stream of vehicles for driving violations as an invited media took notes.

Chatham-Kent police Sgt. Mike Domony said, “It is one of the things we do throughout the year. We get them working in a specific area. It is a high visibility, high concentration enforcement blitz that brings to the forefront in the community the type of enforcement we are doing. It is about their safety and everyone elses safety.”

Distracted driving has become the #1 killer of Ontario drivers, surpassing impaired driving and speeding in recent statistics. Domony said most drivers do not fight the tickets in court because people know they were committing the offence. Police have access to phone records to show if someone was using their phone at a specific time, however Domony added that usually such measures are taken only in serious and fatal collisions.

“If you roll up to a stop sign and look down at your cell phone, because you check an email or text message, you are breaking the law and could be subject to a $280 fine”, Domony pointed out. The fine for distracted driving increased on March 18, from $155. The $280 figure only applies to people who plea guilty. If you fight the fine and lose in court then the justice of the peace can impose a fine up to $500.

Domony is optimistic local drivers will take heed. “I think they are getting the message. They are going to tell their friends and they will tell two friends and the word will go out”, Domony said. “I suggest that no-one is unaware of the legislation. It is important to everybody, because it is about your safety and everybody’s safety. The increases in the fines may help people be more conscientious about it.”

Yesterday 48 tickets were issued:

  • 28 seat belt infractions
  • seven speeding
  • six for cell phones
  • four other highway traffic act offences
  • two for drive motor vehicle no licence
  • one for having no insurance

This includes a woman who was issued two cell phone tickets 19 minutes apart by the same officer.

Also, a passenger received two seatbelt tickets two and a half hours apart.

Over the past three days, the CKPS road safety blitz resulted in 171 tickets being issued and three criminal arrests:

  • 79 seatbelt infractions
  • 36 speeding
  • 23 cell phones
  • 28 various highway traffic act offences
  • one suspended driver
  • two for having no licence
  • two parking tickets
  • three criminal arrests: one disqualified driver, one possession of stolen property, one fail to comply

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