Lacombe Traffic Safety Advisory Committee works for safer streets
I believe that traffic safety is an important issue for all communities, and it is especially significant for communities with growing populations. With higher population, comes more traffic and increased traffic safety related concerns.
Lacombe has been experiencing steady, sustainable growth over the past few years, and with this growth comes a need for increased traffic law enforcement to ensure vehicle and pedestrian safety. Traffic safety in our city is improved by a policing partnership between the Lacombe Police Service and Enforcement Services. Both agencies work together in an effort to reduce collisions and provide safer roads.
In 2012, as part of a community-wide commitment to improving traffic safety, the City of Lacombe formed the Traffic Safety Advisory Committee (TSAC). The primary goal of this volunteer committee is to enhance traffic and pedestrian safety in the community through traffic safety education. The TSAC also encourages the public to voice their concerns about traffic safety related issues, and to bring forward recommendations and suggestions for improvements.
I am happy to say that one TSAC recommendation adopted early on by the municipality is the “Report Impaired Driving” program. This program is centered on educating the public around the dangers of impaired driving. The Alberta Traffic Safety Fund provides funding for materials to assist with running the program. Materials include signage placed at targeted areas around the city that encourage people to report impaired drivers to the police. The TSAC members also spread the message around the dangers of impaired driving by attending local community events to increase awareness and provide information.
I am pleased with the committee’s latest initiative to improve child transportation safety by offering the “Child Car Seat Technician Course” to community peace officers in Lacombe and surrounding communities. Peace officers who complete the course will be trained technicians, equipped to advise parents of the current safety requirements for child car seats. Parents can bring in their car seats to local community events where technicians will be available to ensure the car seat meets these requirements. This valuable course will be offered this spring.
Thirdly, the TSAC has recommended that the City of Lacombe adopt the Alberta Traffic Safety Plan Calendar. This calendar, created with input from traffic safety stakeholders provides a province-wide coordinated approach that highlight different priority traffic safety topics each month.
Enforcement agencies, provincial and local authorities, traffic safety consultants and several other stakeholders work together to focus on safety messages and enforcement on different traffic safety themes every month. These messages are placed in the bi-weekly City Pages spread in the Lacombe Express, on the City’s website and social media channels, and shared with other local media outlets to remind drivers and pedestrians about traffic safety in our city.
The number of collisions, deaths and injuries on Alberta’s roads has declined considerably since the implementation of the Alberta Traffic Safety Plan in 2007. Traffic fatalities have dropped by nearly 32 per cent over the past four years,
I am also pleased to report that since its introduction in 2012, the City of Lacombe’s Automated Enforcement Program – which is intended to compliment conventional traffic safety enforcement – has had a notable impact on improving driver behaviour on city streets.
With an average of six tickets per hour (out of 1767 hours), and a 26 per cent drop in collisions from January to November (compared to the same time in 2013), the program has proven its value, and Council supports the continuation of the photo enforcement program.
At the request of City Council, the TSAC reviewed current enforcement locations considered to be high compliance areas. The committee also provided recommendations on new zones for automated enforcement. Once the new zones have been reviewed and approved, signage will be erected in these high risk areas, and they will become part of the photo enforcement program.
In closing, I would like to thank the volunteers on the TSAC for their hard work and dedication to keeping our streets safe. I would also like to remind everyone that the traffic safety – both vehicular and pedestrian – is a top priority for Council, and that it is a responsibility that we all share. The City will continue to work together with law enforcement agencies and other partners to help keep Lacombe a safe, inclusive, and vibrant community in which to live, work, and play.
- Mayor Steve Christie