Some drivers often think taking the “back roads” will help them avoid running into RCMP, but police say that’s not the case.
Through a joint public awareness and enforcement campaign with Manitoba Public Insurance, RCMP in the province laid more than 1,000 charges last spring on gravel roads.
“Our data was showing a growing road safety concern on rural gravel roads, for which additional road safety education and supporting police enforcement was required,” said Ward Keith with MPI.
Charges laid in 2017 included speeding, impaired driving, failure to use seatbelts, failing to stop at intersections, open alcohol, and operating unregistered vehicles, among other offences.
According to MPI, an average of 14 people are killed and nearly 500 are injured on gravel roads in Manitoba annually. MPI says their data also shows about 3,200 crashes reportedly annual on gravel roads.
“Some people take the ‘back roads’ to avoid running into the police, but the police are there. Regardless if you are driving on a gravel road, an urban street or the Trans-Canada Highway, the laws are the same,” said Chief Superintendent Mark Fisher, officer in charge of criminal operations for the RCMP in Manitoba.
“Hopefully our increased presence on gravel roads will encourage drivers to slow down, buckle up, pay attention to the road, and drive sober.”
MPI is also making it mandatory for new drivers enrolled in the High School Driver Education program to take in-class and in-car training to include gravel road driving skills.