Scofflaw Winnipeg drivers picked up more than 8,000 tickets in the month of June for speeding through reduced-speed school zones, according to police.
Insp. Gord Spado told 680 CJOB that the numbers are almost double the 4,300 such tickets in June of last year, and while it can likely be chalked up to confusion over enforcement while schools were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s still a concerning trend.
“We saw a significant number of speeding offences in the reduced-speed school zones,” Spado said Thursday.
“What I think happened here is people either didn’t hear the messaging that enforcement was going to be in place again, or they thought it was a 50 zone and drove accordingly.
“That tells me that if people did know it was a 30, the fear of getting caught wasn’t there.”
While the speed limit in those zones never changed from 30 km/h — and Spado said it’s not something that would be within police authority to formally change — Winnipeg traffic cops did give motorists a break by not enforcing the low limit in school zones through April or May, while schools and playgrounds remained closed.
School zones aren’t the only areas of concern for police.
Spado said higher-speed roads like Bishop Grandin Boulevard and the Chief Peguis Trail have seen drivers going way above posted limits.
“It’s high, excessive speeds — in the 160-170 km/h range, so 60-70 km/h over the speed limit,” he said.
“That’s just insane speeds. It’s dangerous not only for other motorists on the road, but for the drivers themselves.
“I believe that with low traffic volumes people just are seeing wide open roads and opening up the throttle and letting it go. It’s pretty dangerous. I’m thinking that’s going to drop off now as traffic volumes are starting to increase again.”
Police stats on speeding align with those of Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI), who said Wednesday in a statement that the province has seen 148 speed-related serious driving offences between April and June — up 60 per cent from the 93 tickets over the same time last year.
“About one in five road fatalities last year in Manitoba had speed as a contributing factor,” said MPI’s Satvir Jatana.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to reduced traffic volumes on Manitoba roadways. Unfortunately, many drivers seem to think this is an opportunity to speed and travel at very dangerous speeds.”