RCMP are creating a new Traffic Unit in Cranbrook to deal with a rise in vehicle collisions.
Staff Sgt. Hector Lee says motor vehicle incidents went up 25 per cent in 2017 as officers were kept busy with wildfires and the lengthy homicide investigation.
There were 158 crashes reported last year, up from 126 in 2016.
40 of the incidents led to injuries.
Lee suggests there’s a direct correlation between the level of enforcement on the roads and the number of crashes police see.
So, the Cranbrook detachment is partnering with East Kootenay Traffic Services to form a team expected take to the roads April 1st.
It will be made up of at least one officer from each detachment and intends to relieve pressures on officers and better address all matters relating to safety and crime.
Lee says a major focus will be distracted driving.
He says while they’ve seen a remarkable 65 per cent decrease in crashes where alcohol was a factor, but distracted driving is quickly becoming the number one killer on East Kootenay roads.
Lee adds the new unit won’t be an extra cost to taxpayers but rather a re-allocation of resources.
– Cranbrook RCMP Staff Sgt. Hector Lee