Traffic safety blitz allows Prince Albert police to ‘have a bigger footprint’ on awareness

A police officer stops a vehicle on Second Avenue West as part of a STEP blitz in Prince Albert on Aug. 16, 2023. -- Jayda Taylor/Daily Herald

A multi-agency traffic safety blitz is bringing more education and enforcement to Prince Albert.

The Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) is taking place on Wednesday and Thursday at three locations within city limits, along with a commercial vehicle inspection station at the Highway 11 and Highway 2 junction.

The blitz includes several municipal police agencies, the RCMP, Saskatchewan Highway Patrol, Canadian National and Canadian Pacific police, the Ministries of Justice and Finance, and SGI.

Officers are looking for common issues such as impaired driving, distracted driving, speeding, improper car seats, improper car seat installation and unregistered vehicles, according to Sgt. Brian Glynn.

“The main goal, the main purpose, is traffic safety education,” said Glynn.

“There will be some tickets handed out, but there will also be some warnings and just some overall traffic safety, especially as far as the car seat stuff goes.”

SGI has car seat technicians on scene, and is able to provide families in need with proper car seats for their children.

Michaela Solomon with SGI said ensuring children are in proper car seats, along with those seats being properly installed, is “top of mind.”

A news release from earlier this month said so far this year, RCMP have recorded nearly 200 children under the age of seven who were not properly restrained in a vehicle. There were also 49 children between the ages of seven and 15 who were not safely contained. 

“The goal of this is really to take traffic enforcement and education to different communities and not only correcting unsafe behaviour, but ensuring that the community is educated and updated on what best practices are,” said Solomon.

She said SGI hosts the STEP blitz in Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Regina, Moose Jaw, Yorkton and Estevan.

Another focus is impaired driving.

“The STEP enforcement program is to really encourage people to understand the dangers of impaired driving and the importance of finding a safe ride,” said Solomon.

Whether you’re consuming alcohol or drugs, she said, get home safely by using public transit, a taxi, walking or calling a family member or friend.

SGI’s most recent statistics come from its June Traffic Safety Spotlight.

Saskatchewan police recorded 1,097 distracted driving offences, including 970 for cellphone use – this is the first time since 2019 the monthly recorded number has exceeded a thousand.

Officers also saw 410 people driving after exceeding the legal limits of alcohol or drugs, 5,121 tickets for speeding or aggressive driving, and 706 seatbelt tickets.

“We all kind of pool our resources together to get that traffic enforcement and education to those communities,” added Solomon.

Glynn said those combined efforts give Prince Albert a much higher number of officers focused of traffic.

“I think there’s 25 people, so that will allow us to set up in some different locations and just have a bigger footprint to achieve what we need to achieve in these two days.”

Glynn is in charge of traffic with the Prince Albert Police Service and Combined Traffic Services Saskatchewan, which mainly focuses efforts on highways.