There are plenty of reasons for celebrations this weekend: Canada's 150th birthday and an extra day off. Across the province, Albertans will hit the road this weekend to enjoy Canada Day festivities. Motorists can expect increased traffic volumes and slower traffic flow on Alberta roads and highways.
"Our goal ahead of Canada 150 celebrations this weekend is for everyone to be able to enjoy the holiday and safely get to their destinations," says Steve Daley, Acting Officer in Charge, Alberta RCMP Traffic Services. "This means exercising safe driving behaviours like driving sober, putting away cell phones or other distractions, respecting posted speed limits and driving according to traffic and weather conditions."
In 2016, there were a total of 56,064 motor vehicle collisions reported in Alberta RCMP jurisdictions. There were 213 fatal collisions which resulted in 237 deaths. The presence of alcohol or drugs and the improper use of safety equipment, including seatbelts and helmets, were some of the most common contributing factors in these types of collisions.
This year, police expect Banff, Jasper and Waterton Lakes national parks to be busier than usual, with thousands making their way from across the country to celebrate Canada's 150th and discover the beautiful landscapes the parks have to offer. Visitors travelling through the national parks and residents of these areas should be prepared to share the road with a larger number of vehicles.
"Traffic safety within the national parks is just as important as it is anywhere else," says Superintendent Rick Gardner, Alberta Traffic Sheriffs. "It does, however, include unique scenarios that drivers may not encounter when driving in more urban areas. Frequent stopping, the presence of wildlife and driving through unfamiliar surroundings are all factors to be aware of when travelling through Alberta's national parks."
In 2016, there were 463 motor vehicle collisions, 486 speeding violations and 30 impaired driving by alcohol charges in Banff National Park. In the Jasper Municipal Detachment area, there were 223 collisions of which one was fatal. Waterton Lakes National Park, there were 14 total motor vehicle collisions, including one causing death.
Alberta RCMP and Alberta Sheriffs are committed to traffic safety on all Alberta roads and highways, including those within Banff, Jasper and Waterton Lakes national parks, but they cannot do it alone. The following are just a few safety reminders for motorists visiting our national parks:
- Respect posted speed limits to avoid collisions with other vehicles and wildlife.
- Vehicles stop frequently to take in the sights and take pictures. Make sure to stop and pull over only when it is safe to do so and in a manner that will not obstruct traffic.
- Although it is easy to get distracted by unfamiliar surroundings and beautiful landscapes, stay focused on the road and alert to other vehicles.
- Pass other vehicles only when it is safe to do so.
Alberta RCMP Traffic Services work with Alberta Traffic Sheriffs in Integrated Traffic Units (ITUs) to deliver effective and efficient traffic safety services to Albertans, with a focus on identified enforcement priorities.
Jasper National Park: Corporal Liam Shiels, RCMP Traffic Services and Sergeant Joel LeMarquand, Alberta Sheriffs will be available on Thursday, June 29th, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. on the north side of highway #16 at Folding Mountain west of Hinton, just before the Jasper National park gates, for an on camera interview speaking to the above release.