Speed Watch was out this morning gauging traffic speeds in school zones this morning in Sooke. Speed Watch in Sooke is a volunteer-run program, and this morning volunteers Ali Thornton and Jeff Haisell were posted outside of Journey Middle School, noting the speeds of the latecomers as they came rushing in.
Pictured here is the Speed Watch sign alerting the driver doing 47 in a 30 zone. The speed flash before the camera clicked was 51, so that driver—while significantly above the speed limit—at least was in the process of slowing down.
According to DriveSmartBC.ca, “Speed Watch uses a portable radar mounted on a display that is placed beside the road in places that are suggested by the public or the police. Drivers passing through the beam are shown their speed in large numbers on a reader board in the hope that if they are speeding, they will slow down to the posted limit. A tally of the speeds shown are kept by the operators to establish whether high speeds are common at the site.”
Police may use the data to plan enforcement action. Haisell made the point that on occasion, an RCMP officer may be stationed somewhere behind the flashing sign, so ignoring the warning signals from Speed Watch (never mind the three speed signs before their station) can become expensive.
Speeding in a school zone can cost you anywhere from $196 to $253 according to ICBC, along with three demerit points.
Thornton mentioned that Speed Watch is currently looking for volunteers. The program is administered through the Sooke RCMP, and it begins by dropping by their office and completing an application form.