Advertisement

Traffic police in South Okanagan using disguises to help catch distracted drivers

A photo showing a police officer in disguise during a traffic enforcement blitz in the South Okanagan. Police say the spotters will radio ahead to uniformed enforcement teams. South Okanagan Traffic Services

Distracted drivers beware: That roadside worker may be radioing ahead to a fellow police officer.

This week, South Okanagan Traffic Services (SOTS) said it’s using a “new, creative methods to detect drivers using electronic devices.”

The new method? Disguises.

Read more: Traffic enforcement blitz sees Central Okanagan RCMP hand out nearly 60 tickets

“Distracted drivers can expect to be detected long before they ever see a police car or an officer in uniform,” SOTS said in a press release.

“Using a variety of disguises, including officers in civilian clothing, spotters are radioing ahead to uniformed enforcement teams.”

The SOTS also said officers are also incorporating commercial vehicles as elevated platforms, such as buses, to catch offenders.

Story continues below advertisement
Click to play video: 'BC Supreme Court rules on cellphones in cars' BC Supreme Court rules on cellphones in cars
BC Supreme Court rules on cellphones in cars – May 27, 2020

“We could just do enforcement, but we would be missing an opportunity to prevent these offences from happening in the first place,” said Sgt. Ryan McLeod, unit commander of SOTS.

“To that end, we are raising awareness and actually advertising our tactics in the hopes that drivers with an illegal electronic device habit will change their behaviour.”

Click to play video: 'New distracted driving fines a disproportionate punishment for low-income people, Sask. academic says' New distracted driving fines a disproportionate punishment for low-income people, Sask. academic says
New distracted driving fines a disproportionate punishment for low-income people, Sask. academic says – Feb 20, 2020

The SOTS said the enforcement efforts took place in Penticton, Summerland, Princeton, Keremeos, Osoyoos and Oliver, and that more than 200 tickets were issued for either distracted driving or seatbelt violations.

Story continues below advertisement

The SOTS says using electronic devices while driving has been banned in B.C. since 2010, and that a distracted driving ticket involves a $368 fine and four penalty points ($252) for a total penalty of $620.

Sponsored content