May, 2008 – Community-minded volunteers, in partnership with local police agencies and Manitoba Public Insurance, will be out in full force this week with the launch of SpeedWatch 2008.
SpeedWatch is an education program in which community volunteers use speed display boards to monitor traffic in their community. The program will be active in 12 communities: Winnipeg, Oakbank, Neepawa, Brandon, East St. Paul, Portage, Sandy Lake, Spruce Woods, Swan River, The Pas, Thompson and Winkler.
The display boards dramatically compare the vehicle�s actual speed to the speed limit as it enters the SpeedWatch roadside location, encouraging drivers to be more aware of how fast they are travelling.
�SpeedWatch is designed to provide Manitobans with a tool to educate drivers and prompt change in the behaviour of drivers who speed. Motorists have to realize that speed increases the severity of a crash,� said Manitoba Public Insurance�s Provincial SpeedWatch Co-ordinator Adam Cheadle.
�Also, speed affects your stopping distance � the faster you�re going, the greater the distance you need to stop.�
Community-based groups will monitor community roadways a minimum of 10 hours a month between May and October. Last year SpeedWatch volunteers dedicated 1,061 hours of their time to the program.
Nearly 50 per cent of the vehicles monitored last year by Manitoba Public Insurance�s SpeedWatch program were found to be speeding.
Of the 72,057 vehicles monitored by SpeedWatch volunteers, nearly 30 per cent were travelling 5 km/h over the posted speed limit, while 14 per cent were speeding by more than 10 km/h.
If speeding is clearly a problem within an area, the SpeedWatch group can also request the �Check It or Ticket� enforcement program, says Cheadle.
Through the Check It or Ticket Program speed reader boards are prominently placed in a targeted speed zone. Drivers are given one opportunity to see their actual driving speed through the use of the speed reader boards. After the first reader board, police monitor speed with a radar detector, and then pull over and ticket offenders.
In 2006, 33 deaths and 559 injuries on Manitoba roadways were directly attributed to speeding drivers.
Those wishing to borrow a speed reader board can contact Manitoba Public Insurance at 1-204-985-8998.