The Town of Hay River has finalized bylaw changes that double traffic fines in school zones, construction zones and industrial areas.
Bylaw 2423, which was amended last week, also allows the town’s protective services specialist to decide whether to handle traffic offences under the town’s bylaw or the NWT’s Motor Vehicles Act.
Hay River’s senior administrative officer, Glenn Smith, said the town had seen a number of speeding and distracted driving offences in recent months.
“Speeding in school zones is something that has been a concern for ourselves, the schools and the public,” Smith said.
The amendments incorporate more elements of the Motor Vehicles Act into the bylaw, which means the town will keep revenue from associated fees.
The changes also confirm the earlier reported abolition of a 50-percent discount for early payment.
Smith said the town had followed an approach of “keeping rates that are punitive, and in alignment with the Motor Vehicles Act.”
Demerit points will not be added for infractions.
Speeding a persistent issue
In February, officials said they caught people driving at almost double the speed limit in all four zones of Hay River that are monitored.
In 35 incidents reported that month, 20 people received fines, 14 were given warnings and one individual had “other actions” taken.
One driver reached 63 km/h in a 30 km/h school zone. Another hit 93 km/h in a 40 km/h zone near the Mackenzie Highway/104 Street residential area.
Near Porritt Landing, a 40 km/h area, an individual was stopped after reaching 96 km/h.
“The area between 104 Street and Porritt Landing on Mackenzie Highway has been a big concern for residents and people working in this area,” council documents state.
Although the town’s monthly report notes speeding in school zones dropped compared to January, February brought an increase in cellphone use.
“All violators caught on cellphones were immediately issued offence notices and educated on the possibility of a licence suspension on a subsequent offence as per the Motor Vehicles Act,” the report stated.
“Over the winter we’ve been focusing quite a bit on traffic violations and hoping to influence positive behaviours there,” Smith said.
“We issue a lot of warnings, we have a lot of conversations and meetings with schools and meetings with the public, and trying to educate through social media and other mechanisms to influence positive behaviour for the safety of the public.”
All fines in the town can be paid at the courthouse, located at 8 Capital Drive.