With school now in session, school zone speed limits are back in place and members of the Speed Watch program are hoping to remind drivers to slow down.
“We need to slow down the traffic in Harrison Hot Springs,” said Bob Perry, the program’s volunteer coordinator.
The Speed Watch program is an initiative that operates with the Agassiz RCMP and ICBC to monitor speed limits in high-risk areas in Agassiz and Harrison.
Perry, with the help of Harrison Hot Springs resident William Wrinch, is monitoring speeds along Hot Springs Road near Harrison Hot Springs Elementary.
“The name of our game is to slow down traffic that’s coming through that 30 km area adjacent to the school on Hot Springs Road, which is well flagged,” he said. “We recognize that traffic is traveling faster and faster all the time and that our kids are at risk.”
Volunteers in the Speed Watch program record data of vehicles driving over the posted speed limits, which they pass along to the RCMP.
“We keep a tally of license plates and speeds and we send those to the RCMP office in Agassiz,” Perry explained. “They have a program in effect: a warning is number one, number two is two warnings, and third time is a home visit.”
However, not everyone is supportive of the program.
“We take a lot of flack from some drivers who feel that it’s an infringement of their driving skills, some of which don’t have any,” Perry said.
The decision to become involved with the Speed Watch program wasn’t exactly an easy one for Perry, but he saw it as necessary.
“I came out of retirement for the simple reason that I just witnessed many near misses in Harrison, and some by professional drivers,” he said. “It’s really alarming to think that they don’t recognize the fact that we’re trying to slow traffic down, and I don’t think 30 km is slow in an area where kids are going to school.”
Currently, the program is only operating two days a week but Perry hopes to increase the amount in the future.
“We do it as frequently as possible,” he said. “I would like to do it every school day of the week.”
“We’re just trying to protect these children that are going to school,” Perry continued. “There are some hair raising experiences on Hot Springs Road.”