Stop at stop signs or Ottawa and Gatineau cops will stop you real fast

Motorists who slow down, look around, then cruise through stop signs will be targeted on either side of the river this month as part of the Selective Traffic Enforcement Program initiative.

“People need to understand when it says stop, it means stop, not roll through it, not just keep going,” said Ottawa Police Const. T.J. Jellinek from the east traffic division.

“If it was safe to just kind of keep rolling then we’d put yield signs in.”

Stop sign violations resulted in six fatalities, 998 injuries, and 3,383 collisions between 2008 and 2012.

Cops “literally get calls on a daily basis, people complain about people running stop signs,” said Jellinek.

Too many people yield instead of stopping, and when police pull them over and explain why, “they say, ‘I stopped,’ and they’re convinced they actually did stop,” said Jellinek.

At four-way stops such as Portobello Blvd. and Valin St., near Innes and Trim Roads in Orleans, “you don’t have a choice. If you run that stop sign, you’re almost guaranteed to get in an accident because it’s such a major intersection,” he said.

The fine for running a stop sign is $110 plus three demerit points under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act.

Police will soon be conducting blitzes.

“It’s about correcting driving habits. I mean, that’s our number one concern, and usually it’s through enforcement,” said Jellinek.

“We’ve got to get out there and they’ve got to see us issuing tickets for that offence.”

Realistically, cops can go to any stop sign in the city “and if we sit there for, you know, an hour or two hours or whatever, no matter what, people will be blowing stop signs,” said Jellinek.

“It’s unreal.”

Multi-taskers, also known as distracted drivers, are also on their radar.

The ban on hand-held devices while driving kicked in on Oct. 26, 2009.

Nearly four years later, “it hasn’t gotten any better but it doesn’t mean that we’re going to stop doing enforcement,” said Sgt. Mark Gatien.

The penalty for distracted driving is a $155 fine with no demerit points — something Gatien would like to see changed to deter repeat offenders.

“I can see that having a lingering effect in that your insurance rates will go up and/or your insurance company’s going to say ‘we don’t want to insure you anymore,'” he said.

Revisions must go through Queen’s Park.


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