It was the best type of long weekend for the Stettler RCMP – the sort where everyone was well-behaved and responsible, according to detachment Cpl. Cam Russell.
The RCMP had the boat out on Buffalo Lake during the long weekend and handed out a few tickets, but didn’t have to take anyone’s licence away for impaired operation of a motor vehicle – a boat counts.
“We did a lot of education,” Russell said. He said if people wanted to take steps to be sure they had everything they needed on their watercraft to avoid the possibility of fines, they could find a list available on Transportation Canada’s pleasure craft website.
On the roads, people were generally well-behaved, though as usual speeding continued to be an issue.
Two people had their licences suspended for driving impaired, though no charges were laid.
Police were also on site for the festivities down in Big Valley, which celebrated its centennial year, but people there were too busy having a good time to get up to trouble, Russell said.
RCMP urge caution before modifying vehicles Before spending money on vehicle modifications, RCMP are urging owners to ensure that all the steps required to keep vehicles legally roadworthy are taken – saving both the owners’ time and money, and keeping drivers and pedestrians safe.
Const. Diana Stratton of the Coronation RCMP detachment, which covers Castor and Halkirk, said that one of the biggest vehicle modifications RCMP members see is window tint. While legal on the rear side and back windows, tint is illegal if on the windshield or the passenger or driver side window.
“It may seem fine during the day, but at night you’re basically tinting the dark,” Stratton said. “It makes it harder to see things, like pedestrians.” With the number of vehicle versus wildlife remaining one of the highest causes of collisions on Alberta roadways, window tint at night can make it harder to see deer and moose.
Const. Corey Hall, who also works out of the Coronation detachment, said he estimates that police respond to a wildlife collision almost every other day.
Window tint on the front windows of a vehicle will run owners a $115 fine, and the cost of removing the tint as well. Vehicles with window tint can also be towed at the owner’s expense.
Tint isn’t only applied to windows, but to rear lights, a trend about which both Coronation and Stettler RCMP have expressed concerns. Whether the tint entirely blacks out the tail lights or dampens them, it makes it harder to see when the driver of the vehicle has applied the brakes.
“Usually in a rear-end collision the person who runs into the person in front of him is at fault, but when there’s tail light tint that’s not necessarily the case,” Stratton said. She noted that the presence of tint can cause protracted insurance battles as sides attempt to determine who is at fault.
Drivers who opt to use oversized tires on their vehicles need to take the necessary steps to ensure their vehicle is still considered roadworthy, Stratton warned. Vehicles need to have the speedometer recalibrated to reflect the size of the tires, as not having this done is not a valid excuse for speeding.
“The onus is on the driver to follow the laws and the speed limit,” Stratton said.