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Lead-footed drivers seen in RCMP's rural sweep

Eye-opening offences flagged

They're putting the pedal to the metal -- and everyone else on the road at risk.

Manitoba RCMP say an alarming number of motorists are living life in the fast lane, judging by the results of a weeklong traffic blitz in the western part of the province.

Police pulled over a total of 126 speeders, including six who were going at least 50 kilometres per hour over the limit.

"Unfortunately, we probably get one or two of those a month. But to see six in a week is abnormal," RCMP Cpl. Mark Hume told the Free Press from his Dauphin office.

The worst offender was a 26-year-old man from Carnduff, Sask., who was clocked going 182 km/h on Highway 21, south of Griswold, Man., on Sunday afternoon. Even more disturbing was the fact he had a four-year-old child with him.

Because of the extreme speed, RCMP charged the man with dangerous driving under the Criminal Code. He has been released on a promise to appear in court.

"At that speed, any small bump would be magnified, any little correction you'd have to make is a big deal," said Hume. "People just aren't trained to drive that way."

Other notable examples from the past week:

  • A 24-year-old man from Regina was caught travelling at 168 km/h on the Trans-Canada Highway in the RM of Whitehead, west of Brandon, last Friday night. He also had an expired driver's licence and a four-year-old wearing just a seatbelt, but not in a required car seat. He was also charged with dangerous driving, driving without a licence and failing to properly restrain a child under the Highway Traffic Act.
  •  An 18-year-old woman from Melville, Sask., was caught doing 166 km/h on the Trans-Canada in the RM of North Cypress, near Carberry last Thursday evening. She was given a $914.75 ticket.
  •  A 54-year-old man from Fairford was caught doing 126 km/h in a 60 km/h zone in the RM of Alonsa on Friday. He was given a $914.75 ticket and charged with careless driving under the Highway Traffic Act.
  •  A 59-year-old man from the RM of Keys, Sask., was caught doing 164 km/h while passing several vehicles on Highway 16, west of Minnedosa, on Friday. He received a $863.50 ticket.
  •  A 20-year-old man from High River, Alta., was clocked doing 158 km/h on the Trans-Canada in the RM of Sifton, near Oak Lake on Friday. He was given a $809.50 ticket.

In addition to the speeding tickets, RCMP also handed out 19 notices for other infractions. Two motorists were charged with impaired driving, and two more were issued roadside suspensions ranging from 24 hours to 15 days.

Joe Buccini, the owner of Frontier Driving Academy in Winnipeg, said these types of high speeds would make it very difficult to control your vehicle. "The traction on your tires would not be what you'd want," he said.

RCMP said it's interesting five of the six worst offenders are from Alberta and Saskatchewan, where 110 km/h is the typical highway speed limit.

"Alberta and Saskatchewan's fines are significantly less than ours. To them, it may be seen as worth the risk," said Hume.

Buccini said younger drivers are typically the worst offenders when it comes to speed. Yet two of the six highest speeders last week were men in their 50s.

"It's probably just a mentality they've acquired over time, that I have a right to go as fast as I want," he said. "In their mind, they probably don't think they're doing anything wrong."

Buccini always brings parents into the conversation when training young drivers, telling them of the importance of maintaining speed limits when their children are in the car to avoid setting a bad example.

The stepped-up RCMP enforcement came during the just-completed Canada Road Safety Week. Tragically, four people were killed over the past week on Manitoba roads. RCMP say none of the victims was wearing a seatbelt, alcohol is a factor in at least one crash, and "speeding or driving too fast for the road conditions continues to be a factor in most collisions."

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