RNC using hand-held devices to catch speeders in residential areas

Gary Kean gkean@thewesternstar.com
Published on July 29, 2014

Const. Scott Mosher got plenty of inquisitive looks from motorists travelling along Brookfield Avenue Monday morning.

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary’s media relations officer spent some of his day partially hidden behind a mailbox, with a radar gun aimed at oncoming traffic.

His duties were part of the RNC’s latest effort to make the streets of Corner Brook a little safer. The police force recently started using the hand-held radar device to do stationary patrols of residential streets where cars exceeding the posted speed limit have been a bit of a problem.

“In a typical patrol car, we are obviously a lot more visible, so on stretches of road that are flat and long and straight, oftentimes we’re seen before the radar equipment we have can effectively catch the people that are driving above the speed limit,” said Mosher. “With the hand-held radar, we have a little bit more concealment.”

When the officer with the device detects a speeding car — or maybe spots an aggressive or distracted driver or a vehicle that doesn’t seem to be fit for the road — they notify one of two other officers parked in vehicles nearby.

Those officers then pop out from their inconspicuous locations to conduct a traffic stop and apply whatever enforcement is necessary.

Areas such as the Sunnyslope Drive neighbourhood, where there are many young families and long stretches of straight road, are where most traffic complaints come from, said Mosher. The Townsite neighbourhood, which has lots of one-way streets, is another common problem area.

Playground areas, school zones — where the speed limit is reduced to 30 kilometres per hour — and construction zones, where temporarily reduced speeds and longer lines of traffic seem to frustrate drivers, are also going to be monitored more closely by the police.

“Not only are speed limits reduced further, but also the wait times are increased (in construction zones),” said Mosher. “So, people who may be in a hurry to get to their destination, get congested by traffic through construction zones and are a little less patient and in a little bit more of a hurry to get where they are going.”

During Monday’s stationary patrol of Brookfield Avenue, the RNC observed around 150 vehicles and handed out four summary offence tickets for violations under the Highway Traffic Act, including tickets for failure to wear a seat belt, using a cellphone while driving and for licensing and equipment regulations violations.

Mosher said the RNC will be conducting similar patrols in certain residential areas throughout the summer and into the fall.