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Extreme speeding an ongoing issue on Edmonton roads during COVID-19 pandemic

Edmonton mayor addresses speeding drivers on city roads
WATCH ABOVE: (March 26, 2020): City data shows an increase in speeding this past week, which Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson chastized on Thursday, saying the health care system and police do not need to be dealing with collisions during the COVID-19 crisis.

Edmonton police say they continue to see cases of “extreme speeding,” as traffic volume has gone down over the past few weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Edmonton Police Service said Friday there’s been a “significant increases in speeding incidents” in recent weeks. The roads have been quieter as measures to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus are keeping more people at home.

READ MORE: Recent uptick in speeding on Edmonton roads concerns mayor and city official

In the past two weeks alone, police said more than a dozen tickets were issued to drivers caught going more than 40 kilometres an hour over the posted speed limit.

In one case, police said a vehicle was clocked at 119 km/h in a 50 km/h construction zone on Groat Road near Emily Murphy Park. Officers said construction workers were on site at the time.

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Another vehicle was caught going 100 km/h on Anthony Henday Drive as it drove by a police vehicle that was parked on the side of the road with its emergency lights turned on, officers said.

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Another vehicle was caught driving 120 km/h while passing in the lane next to an emergency vehicle on the side of the Henday near Campbell Road.

“Some Edmonton drivers seem to feel that lower traffic volumes are an excuse to speed, but the reality is, speed is a key risk factor in collisions,” Sgt. Kerry Bates, with EPS Traffic Section said in a media release.

“The faster a vehicle is travelling, the greater the chance of injury or death in the event of a collision.”

Police issued a reminder Friday that drivers must slow down to 60 km/h — or slower if the posted speed limit is lower — when passing in the lane next to emergency vehicles or tow trucks that are stopped with their lights flashing.

Fines are doubled for drivers caught speeding by emergency vehicles or through construction zones.

Edmonton police chief on working in the public during a pandemic
Edmonton police chief on working in the public during a pandemic

This is the second time in just over a week that police in Edmonton have warned drivers to slow down. Police in Calgary issued a similar warning Friday morning.

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“We never want to see collisions on our roadways. But especially now, when our first responders, health-care workers and hospitals are already under strain, the last thing we want to do is burden them with collisions that are completely preventable,” Bates said. “Slow down, obey the rules of the road, and help keep our roads safe for everyone.”

READ MORE: Self-isolation speeders: Calgary police warn empty streets aren’t an invitation for lead-footed drivers

Edmonton police say traffic enforcement continues as usual, despite the lower traffic volume.

Violations for speeding can include fines of up to $2,000 and up to six demerits. Drivers who exceed the speed limit by 51 km/h or more may have their driver’s licence suspended.