Behind the Badge

Dal Hutchinson
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Extra snow brings extra responsiblity

Hello everyone. I imagine most people have had enough of this snow. Already we are experiencing difficulties trying to find a safe place to put it. As much as I enjoy winter activities, I look forward to mowing my lawn.

With this large amount of snow brings dangers to both motorists and pedestrians. I encourage parents to talk with their children about the dangers of building a snow fort near the road or driveway. Snow plows may travel past and are unable to see children playing. It is also important to discuss with your children the dangers associated with walking on snow banks that have built up along the side of the streets. Far too often we read of incidents where children are struck by vehicles, which can be attributed to large amounts of snow in their area.

I would also like to remind people to take that extra few minutes to clean the snow off your vehicle. I am amazed at the number of people who feel it’s ok to jump in their car, start it up, turn on the wipers, and drive away. This is not ok. You are endangering your life and everyone else out there.

Your visibility is restricted, therefore, contributing to unsafe roads. I must add, this also involves cleaning the snow off the roof of your vehicle. If you have to stop fast that snow is going to slide down on your windshield obstructing your view or it will blow off on to other vehicles. I recently stopped a vehicle which had close to three feet of snow on it’s roof, along with heavily frosted windows.

The driver was operating their vehicle through a clear section of the windshield the size of a hockey puck. The driver was provided an option of cleaning the snow off and scraping their window or being charged under the Motor Vehicle Act. They chose to clear the snow and frost. The next time it will result in a $164.50 fine.

I recently had an opportunity to join the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on a snowmobile run which was hosted by the Fundy Trail Snowmobile Club at Folly Lake. The 50 km run on the well groomed trails consisted of over fifty snowmobile operators from across N.B., N.S. and P.E.I. The event also had departmental deputy ministers and a local MLA in attendance.

I must commend the snowmobile clubs for their efforts to improve snowmobile safety and enjoyment on the trails in Nova Scotia. It’s amazing how fortunate we are to have such nicely groomed trails available in our own backyard.

On Saturday, Feb. 12 I had an opportunity to conduct snowmobile patrols in the Sutherland’s Lake area. The snowmobile patrol unit consisted of three RCMP members and a DNR conservation officer. The patrol consisted of an all-day outing covering 150 km. As a result of this patrol, a snowmobile operator was charged with impaired operation. As well, over 200 snowmobiles were checked, with six tickets being issued, and 40 warnings issued. We were checking for registration, insurance and trail passes, along with Criminal Code offences such as impaired operation. We will be out on a regular basis throughout the county. Therefore, I recommend that you purchase your trail pass, register your sled and get insurance. It will be cheaper in the long run.

I have to say that the majority of snowmobile operators are responsible. They are out there enjoying the great outdoors in a respectful manner. Their intentions are to have fun and keep everyone safe. Unfortunately, there continue to be those who don’t share the same feeling. Remember, your actions not only affect yourself, they affect everyone else around you. Have fun and play safe.

Organizations: Department of Natural Resources, RCMP

Geographic location: Folly Lake, Nova Scotia

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