by Morinville News Staff
The province is reminding motorists to be cautious at intersections. Each year, police, community peace officers and sheriffs put their focus on the Alberta Traffic Safety Calendar, which ascribes a particular traffic safety to each month. January is Intersection Safety Month, and local police will be out looking for rolling stops and other intersection infractions.
The province, in a Thursday release, said improper left-hand turns are the most frequent driver error that contributes to an intersection-related casualty collision.
There is a good reason for police to focus on intersection safety. According to statistics provided by the province, 315 people were killed, and 39,791 people were injured in collisions at intersections in Alberta between 2010 and 2014. Nationally, 28 per cent of fatalities and 40 per cent of serious injuries from collisions are those involved an intersection.
“Intersections are designed to allow motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians to interact with each other safely. Ignoring traffic signs or signals, refusing for yield to pedestrians and following too closely are all significant causes of casualty collisions in our province,” said Brian Mason, Minister of Transportation, in Thursday’s release. “Please drive carefully and courteously, so everyone gets home safely.”
Inspector Steve Daley, Acting OIC Traffic Services, Alberta RCMP, K Division, said drivers should never assume the other drivers are always going to do the right thing at an intersection.
“You should always check for vehicles approaching the intersection to make sure they are going to stop completely or yield the right of way,” Daley said. “Safe driving means that we are constantly watching the road and other drivers to avoid dangerous collisions.”
Despite being in the rule book for years, the province feels the need to remind motorists how to navigate a four-way stop. When vehicles arrive at a four-way stop sign, drivers allow the vehicle that arrived first to proceed first. If vehicles arrive simultaneously, the right of way is given to the vehicle on the right, while left-turning vehicles yield to approaching traffic.
Aside from saving injuries and lives, there is a financial benefit to stopping completely at stop signs. Failure to stop at a stop sign carries a $388 fine and three demerits.
Disregarding crosswalks also come with heavy points and heavy bucks. Failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk carries a fine of $575 and four demerit points.