‘There was a lot of engagement’: Manitoba RCMP use social media to nab bad drivers

Manitoba RCMP say social media was a key component in catching motorists committing driving offences following a four day blitz.

Mounties put out the call on Twitter and Facebook asking drivers to suggest hot spots they were concerned about.

“There was a lot of engagement. These are people that drive on these roads on a regular basis. Their information was invaluable,” said RCMP Media Relations Officer Tara Seel.

“A lot regular spots we were contacted about included highways 1, 3, 10, 16, and 59,” added Seel.

Over the first two days of the campaign, nearly 150 tickets were handed out. According to Seel, that is a higher amount of tickets handed out compared to other days.

“We can credit that to more targeted enforcement,” said Seel. Numbers are still being finalized for the entire campaign.

Seel noted that many hot spots brought to their attention were already on the RCMP’s radar, which helps reaffirm they are using resources in the best possible way.

“Things we consider include traffic volume, crash history, and information collected during previous campaigns.”

Distracted driving was a common infraction seen by officers during the campaign. She said it was a chance to educate drivers about the new distracted driving laws that come into effect Nov. 1.

One of the more notable behaviours they witnessed was an impatient driver using the side of the road to get ahead during rush hour.

“An officer saw a vehicle going southbound on the Perimeter just north of Highway 3 using the shoulder and eventually made a westbound turn. You can’t just pass people that way. That ended up being a fine of $203,” said Seel.

She said it’s great to connect directly with the community and encourages everyone to alert police about any hot spots they know of, but to use more traditional methods.

“I would stress that unless we’re in the process of doing a social media campaign, people should contact their local detachments with the information,” Seel said.

“Our accounts are not monitored 24/7 and are not official report sites. Calling will ensure the information is given to an officer in a timely manner.”

She made a point of saying the campaign was not just a money grab.

“We want people to get home safely. Too many people have not returned home because of someone not driving safely. Texting, drinking and speeding is not worth the fine or the loss of your life,” Seel said.

Tweets from the RCMP show various locations they patrolled:

Mounties have done this kind of campaign before and considering the success they’ve had, you can expect to see it again.

“I absolutely see ourselves doing this again in the future.”

Seel said since the end of the blitz brings them to November, it’s time for people to start preparing for winter driving.

“Slow down, buckle up, driver sober and pay attention. We just want everyone to get home safe.”

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