City cops can add OC Transpo rider to their list of decoys.
Twenty-one tickets were dished out by officers in a 70-minute traffic blitz on Thursday as Ottawa Police were out enforcing stop sign violations, the focus of October’s Selective Traffic Enforcement Program.
Drivers, predictably, were full of excuses.
”We’re hearing exactly what we expected to hear: They’re convinced that they stopped. When I tell them that we have an officer standing back there wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, in plain clothes, watching them come through, they still don’t believe it. They’re convinced they came to a stop,” said Ottawa police Const. T.J. Jellinek.
The Sun was invited to observe, also posing as a passenger waiting for the Route 27 bus along Orchardview Ave. at Northampton Dr., near Charlemagne Blvd. and Tenth Line Rd., where it was hard to miss a bright red stop sign on this dreary day.
The first to run the stop sign was a white commercial van, followed by a dark blue pickup truck with a ladder.
“They’re slowing down — I will give them that. They do slow down. But by no means are they coming to a stop,” said Jellinek.
Sgt. Denis Hull stands at a bus stop — with two stop signs nearby — observing drivers, then radioing ahead to uniformed officers with a vehicle description
Nine vehicles were flagged in the 40 km/h stretch.
“The reality is, we could’ve done more,” but there were just three officers on hand “and when you get one vehicle, it takes several minutes to write up your notes, do the offence, print out the ticket, and get that person served,” said Jellinek.
”So while we’re doing that, there’s still others going. We just can’t handle the volume.”
Sure enough, several drivers were flagged yet cruised past the officers, who were tied up and unable to stop them.
Under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act, the fine for running a stop sign is $110 plus three demerit points.
Tickets can be an effective deterrent, especially among people who use certain routes regularly.
“They’ll remember that we were here doing enforcement. Other vehicles that drive by will see us doing the enforcement,” said Jellinek.
Traffic-related complaints are rolling into police as fast as drivers breeze through stop signs, said Hull.
Stop sign infractions caused 3,383 collisions, 998 injuries, and six deaths between 2008 and 2012.