Local News

Safe Communities WC focus on road safety

Story by: Kayla Kreutzberg

Photo by: Austin Cardinell

This year, Safe Communities Wellington County is focusing on keeping the streets safe.

Christine Veit, Safe Communities Wellington County program coordinator says from this past March until now there has been a huge increase in aggressive driving.

“So that’s speeding, that’s like to the point where there are a lot of people that are stunt driving. To get that stunt driving charge you have to be going 50 kilometres over the posted speed limit,” Veit said.

Wellington County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) says in 2019 they gave out 842 speeding tickets to young drivers aged 16-24 years old.

This year, so far, they have given out 412 speeding tickets to that same age group.

The organization is also trying to combat distracted driving.

Veit says anything that distracts you from keeping your eyes on the road is a distraction.

“That includes, eating cereal, putting your makeup on, your kids screaming in the back, but the biggest thing obviously with the teens is the texting and driving,” she said.

Wellington County OPP says in 2019, they handed out 10 distracted driving tickets to young drivers, aged 16-24 years old.

Veit says the average text takes about 6 seconds [to send].

“If it’s a yes, or a no, or a really quick one, and you can literally, at 60 kilometres per hour, you can go the full length of the football field blind because you’re looking down,” she said.

Although the year is not yet over, Wellington County OPP have given out 11 distracted driving tickets to young drivers.

This photo displays a tweet from Safe Communities Wellington County and reads, Drivers who text while driving are up to six times more likely to be involved in a crash. That text message can wait. Don’t text and drive.
A tweet from Safe Communities Wellington County on distracted driving. Photo by: Safe Communities WC

Veit says over the last 30 years different organizations have impressed upon everyone that alcohol and driving do not mix.

Veit says a lot of research has been done on impaired driving.

“Kids generally say, ‘yeah, we don’t drink and drive,’ however, the problem is that impaired driving also includes cannabis,” she said.

Wellington County OPP says last year, 14 youth, aged 16-24 years old were charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.

However, 54 youth were charged with driving under the influence of cannabis.

Veit says those same groups of kids were asked about driving under the influence of alcohol, were also asked about driving and cannabis.

“About 20-30 per cent of them said they drive better under the influence of cannabis,” she said.

This year, Wellington County OPP have charged 25 youth with driving under the influence of cannabis.