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Two RCMP officers inspect a man who leans against a blue car on the side of the highway.

Technology supports RCMP N.S. traffic enforcement

Data from recently acquired traffic surveyors will help the Halifax District RCMP Traffic Unit strategically enforce the rules of the road. Credit: RCMP


Two new traffic-surveyor devices are helping the Halifax District RCMP Traffic Unit make the roads they police safer.

The equipment, which uses radar and records each passing vehicle's speed, direction of travel and time, are periodically placed in areas with reported traffic issues to give police a more complete picture of residents' concerns.

The technology does not collect images or identifying information about a vehicle or its occupants.

"We'll analyze the data and it'll help us efficiently and tactically respond to dangerous driving patterns," says traffic-unit supervisor Cpl. Murray Smith.

Strategic policing is essential as the unit patrols a large area outside of urban Halifax.

"The surveyors will help free us up to go after the core mandate of traffic enforcement," says Smith. "These are the four causal factors that lead to severe injuries and death: aggressive driving, impaired driving, distracted driving, and failure to wear a seatbelt."

The data the surveyors collect can help police in other areas besides enforcement. If a neighbourhood is particularly troublesome, police can recommend the municipality consider traffic-calming measures such as speed bumps or traffic islands to encourage drivers to slow down.

While new to the Halifax District RCMP Traffic Unit, similar traffic surveyors have been used by RCMP detachments and other police agencies across the country.

Each year on RCMP-patrolled roads in the Halifax region there's approximately 2,000 motor vehicle collisions which result in 300 injuries and 16 fatalities. The municipality hopes to reduce serious collisions by 20 per cent in the next five years.

"In the Halifax Regional Municipality traffic-related concerns are the No. 1 complaint of residents," says Insp. Jeremie Landry, who oversees the traffic unit and other RCMP teams in Halifax.

Collecting and analysing the surveyor data is only one way the traffic unit is working to improve road safety. They often conduct enforcement operations and education campaigns reminding everyone of the importance of driving responsibly.

During the 2021 Canada Road Safety Week in May, RCMP officers in Halifax laid more than 240 charges, including 14 impaired driving charges and 130 related to aggressive driving.

"With the right amount of education, and enforcement when required, our hope and our goal is that we can significantly reduce the number of fatalities and injuries on our roads," says Landry.

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