On Sept. 22 and 23, the team with partners from the Ridge Meadows Uniformed Community Response Unit, Frontline officers, and Metro Vancouver Transit Police officers (MVTP) performed two cell phone and seatbelt offense checks calling it Project Blue Heron, throughout the communities of Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge.
Ridge Meadows RCMP’s Road Safety Target Team undertook a safety blitz over two days to remind drivers around cell phone and seat belt usage.
Photographic evidence of the infraction was taken by police as the offenses were occurring and would be presented in court should a ticket be disputed.
According to RCMP’s Julie Klaussner, Project Blue Heron utilizes a construction-style scissor lift to give officers a ‘birds-eye-view’ of the traffic, and a vantage point for officers to be able to identify drivers who were on their phone or not wearing seat belts.
Corp. Eric Obermeyer with the road safety target team said they weren’t just able to make an impact on traffic safety but also made an arrest on a shoplifting offense.
Over the two day effort the operation succeeded in identifying 25 cell phone offenses, 21 seatbelt offenses, two offenses of driving without a driver’s license, eight other offenses such as disobeying traffic control devices, failing to display ‘N’, and one arrest for shoplifting in Maple Ridge alone.
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“Everyone thinks it won’t happen to them but some of the collision scenes we attend are proof distracted driving remains to be a problem. If you are looking at your phone you simply aren’t aware of what is occurring around you and your sole focus needs to be driving,” he said.
There were also 15 cell phone offenses, 16 seatbelt offenses, one warning and one arrest for prohibited driver and served with additional six month suspension in Pitt Meadows. This initiative is also in line with ICBC’s Fall Distracted Driving Campaign for the month of September.According to ICBC road safety coordinator Kate Woochuk it is important to ensure you have everything you need before hitting the road.
“Even short glances away from the road increase your risk of crashing. Staying focused when you drive should be your top priority. Leave your phone alone,” she said.