Councillors question drop in speeding tickets

Dave Stewart
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Police Chief Paul Smith talks with Councillor David MacDonald in this Guardian file photo.

Charlottetown police aren’t issuing as many speeding tickets this year as they did last year but that doesn’t necessarily mean people are slowing down.

City councillors are questioning whether motorists are abiding by the laws or if police simply aren’t enforcing those laws as much.

According to numbers released by the city’s police committee at Monday night’s council meeting, the number of Highway Traffic Act tickets issued so far this year (up to the end of October) is 2,840. That compares with 3,640 issued during the same time frame last year.

By comparison, the number of collisions is up — from 780 in 2010 to 900 this year.

Coun. David MacDonald, chair of protective and emergency services, said Deputy Police Chief Gary McGuigan had a few explanations for the numbers.

“One of them might be that our traffic-calming measures are working a little bit but that’s not the sole reason the tickets are down. We’re looking at it,’’ MacDonald said.

“There’s no explanation why it’s down 20 per cent at this time of year. The deputy chief is looking at it and he’s going to bring back some information to our next committee meeting.’’

The traffic-calming measures MacDonald refers to are temporary barriers (such as large flower pots) placed on roads forcing traffic to slow down and yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic.

The city is also using portable speed signs.

MacDonald thinks it’s working but he adds he also believes enforcement is down.

Coun. Mitchell Tweel says there’s no doubt in his mind, police aren’t enforcing the laws as much as they should be.

“I don’t want to be critical of the department but, to be honest, I’m not surprised,’’ Tweel said. “The question is, is traffic enforcement a priority for the (police) department? I know it’s a major priority for the residents who live in these neighbourhoods.’’

Tweel says it’s no accident the number of tickets issued has dropped since the city shelved the police department’s traffic unit, one of the many recommendations that came out of the police review report in 2009.

MacDonald said measures like traffic calming and speed signs are designed as information tools so the city knows where problems with speeding exist and how best to deal with them.

Geographic location: Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • bye the way
    November 15, 2011 - 21:15

    There's a simple explanation.....Shane retired. Simple solution;get Sgt. Keith back on the Harley...all in favor....

  • Hmmmmm
    November 15, 2011 - 17:23

    Funny how CBC ran a story tonight with the RCMP. Their Traffic units have handed out over 4000 tickets for speeding. I think the city might need to re-invest in the traffic units again, and try and cut down on speeding. Like someone posted earlier, they've spent the money on "rewarding" good driving?? Really?? What a waste of time and resources. I understand the thought behind it, but if you can't keep up with the offenders in the city, why waste MORE time pulling over those who are obeying the rules of the road??

  • Thaddeous Sholto
    November 15, 2011 - 15:18

    The city police are enforcing the speeding laws the same way they are enforcing the ban on using cellphones while driving. They are nor enforcing either law. I see speeders and I see people talking on cells and they are doing so with no fear of being caught and charged. The laws sound good, but if not enforced they are next to useless.

  • frank white
    November 15, 2011 - 14:41

    hahaha, this is rich. isn't this the same department that said they will be pulling over drivers who show good-behaviour behind the wheel? (to 'reward' the driver with a free oil change voucher, how about you reward my good driving by not pulling me over at all! - i obey traffic laws, and it's not to attract new friends, police included!)

  • Ian
    November 15, 2011 - 13:31

    The people who cut through town down side streets who think its quicker than taking the bypass are the ones I want to see nailed. They turn my street into a drag strip around breakfast and supper. I have notified my councellor Mr Mcdonald numerous times about it and nothing is being done so for him to wonder why the tickets are down he should look in the mirror to get his answer. To catch speeders in a 30/kmh zone is simple, plus they'll go back to taking the bypass, just have to find someone to pass the message along.

  • Honestly
    November 15, 2011 - 12:43

    Compared to the amount of drunk drivers on the road. Police are actually concerned with not enforcing the law on speeding tickets? Take some good advice and enforce the law on drunk drivers, they kill more people then speeding does. Do you really need citizens to do or job for you? Because soon enough citizens are gonna act and start doing citizens arrests.

  • Respect
    November 15, 2011 - 11:45

    I am so tired of hearing people discuss what the CPS are not doing! Maybe it is time for the City Council and the residents of Charlottetown show the police officers that are out on the streets the respect and gratitude that they deserve. Maybe money should be spent on a traffic unit instead of on GPS's that monitor the CPS cars to see if they leave city limits(not for safety) or antique cars or wooden statues! Think about the City Council and the residents of Charlottetown as the employers and the Police Officers as the employees....if you were always hearing about what a bad job you were doing would you want to do a better job? For people who don't appreciate you, yell at you, threaten you and your family, and say things in the media constantly about what is lacking and what has been done wrong? Think about it...

  • Garth Staples
    November 15, 2011 - 10:34

    The 'calming device' ( obstruction to orderly movement of traffic) on Ambrose St certainly didn't contribute to less tickets being issued. Was there ever a speeding ticket issued on Ambrose?

  • Gerry
    November 15, 2011 - 10:12

    Is it possible the report was flawed, e.g. inappropriate cuts, miscalculation in terms of the re-direction of human resources, lack of human resources? Maybe it's time city council revisits the "recommendations" and analyses the feasibility of those which have been or should have been implemented???

  • Radar Alert
    November 15, 2011 - 09:51

    Any motorist travelling 5km/h over th elimit willb e ticketed to make up the shortfall - guaranteed... Good luck residents of CharlieTown!!!

  • Quiet Observer
    November 15, 2011 - 09:39

    Problem areas? Try University Avenue from UPEI to Staples!

    • Rob
      November 15, 2011 - 10:31

      What's this fixation on the number of speeding tickets? The city needs to ask itself what percentage of collisions are a sole result of speeding, and how many collisions are a result of other types of traffic infractions. (Failure to yield the right of way at intersections, illegal and improper lane changes, tailgating and driving around with an animal on your lap or hanging out your driver's door window). Most studies I've read list speeding as the sole cause of collision in the single digit percentages. Does it make sense that the vast majority of tickets are for speeding, when it by itself, results in very few accidents? Put the resources where they are needed. When was the last time someone received a ticket for driving in the left lane on the bypass? ( Dear PEI drivers - If someone is passing you on the right then your in the wrong lane ! ).