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PAB RCMP get tech upgrade

Cpl. Colin Helm of the Port aux Basques detachment of the RCMP. – © J. René Roy

PORT AUX BASQUES – As reported from the Port aux Basques Council Highlights in the Aug. 24, 2020 edition of the Wreckhouse Weekly, speeding and safety has become a major issue with council, the RCMP and area residents.

Cpl. Colin Helm of the Port aux Basques RCMP detachment has been in meetings with Town Council to discuss the speeding issue and determine what preventive action can be taken.

“Speeding has always been an issue. However, we have noticed since the snow left, there has been an increase in reports about speeding in town,” stated Cpl. Helm.

Over the last couple of months a speed sign has been positioned in different areas of town. This sign is a great tool to use in determining where and when the police can put more enforcement.

The sign records the date, the hour, the location, the correct speed limit, total vehicles passing the sign during that hour, average number of vehicles for the hour, total violations, percentage of violations, minimum speed, maximum speed and average speed.

One example of this would be in Grand Bay West, where the posted speed limit is 30 kph.

On Aug. 3, between 2 and 3 a.m., 26 cars passed this sign. There were 22 violations with the maximum speed recorded at 108 kph and an average speed of 45 kph. The minimum speed was 5 kph.

Mayor John Spencer noted in the last council meeting that no one would be expecting a vehicle to be moving at 108 kph in this area and combined with darkness an accident is sure to happen if this continues.

Data from this sign has also shown that the three major areas where excessive speeding occurs are Grand Bay East near the mall, Grand Bay West and the lower end of LeGrow Street. However, there are other areas as well.

“We do have other areas of concern but we will be strategic of where and why we setup in those locations,” said Cpl. Helm.

The local RCMP detachment will soon receive a much desired tool to help in their work when a radar known as the LiDAR system finally arrives.

Police LiDAR is a device that uses the principles of reflection to calculate distances between the device and the vehicle and then uses this information to calculate the speed of the vehicle, even at extremely high speed. It uses laser technology.

The police LiDAR emits infrared laser beams that travel at nearly the speed of light when it hits a vehicle. The laser beam is then bounced back to the device at the same speed. Even for a professional driver, there is very little chance for one to slam on the brakes and slow down enough to avoid detection.

One of the many advantages of the police LiDAR device is that it shoots a very tiny “cone” of light from the gun. This means that the laser is able to pinpoint a specific vehicle without offering any prior warning. This small diameter allows the police officer to target only that one vehicle to obtain a reading. This is how police officers are able to get the information they need.

As Cpl. Helm stated, “The people running the LIDAR will see you before you see them. Once I get this tool, it will open Pandora’s box“.

Upon reflection, Cpl. Helm feels that we have been very fortunate that no major accidents have yet occurred, and he attributes some of this to the number of people who do drive at the correct speeds in the low speed zones. Also, there is just is one major route going downtown which can become congested, especially when tourists are visiting.

Helm cautions that with school opening soon, there will be a increase of police officers working in areas where students will be boarding or departing the buses.

“I want to remind the public to be cognizant when travelling in a school zone, driving near buses and bus stops. We encourage people who witness a traffic violation to contact us here at the Port aux Basques RCMP detachment.”

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