Minto’s Road Watch program was officially launched June 9, even though signs for the program – aimed at reducing the number of aggressive drivers on town and Wellington County roads – have been posted for the past couple of months.
The program is sponsored by the town’s safe community committee, a group charged with crime prevention and putting a stop to hazardous driving.
“If you observe a dangerous act of aggressive driving on roads of the Town of Minto, with safety first and foremost, make note of the licence plate number, province, make, model and color of vehicle, location, time and date,” an education brochure from the committee tells residents.
“As soon as you can, log on to the Road Watch website (roadwatch.ca) and click on the Wellington OPP reporting icon.”
The OPP will receive the information and ask anyone reporting to describe the incident and give any further information. First time incidents will be responded to by the OPP with a letter to the driver. The letter asks the owner or driver of the vehicle to voluntarily cooperate and drive responsibly.
OPP Constable Todd Pridham said depending on the circumstances of the first incident, police may contact the driver personally.
For any subsequent incident involving the same vehicle, the owner will receive a letter and be contacted by an OPP officer. A third incident may result in charges being laid and an officer may monitor the vehicle to allow enforcement if observed infractions warrant it.
Anyone reporting an incident will remain anonymous to the person they are reporting. They will have to report their name when filing a complaint with police, but that report remains confidential.
“We can’t act on a complaint unless we put a name to it,” Pridham said.
Committee member and town councillor Mary Lou Colwell said the procedure is intended to be a “low key” way of reporting hazardous drivers.
Eighteen “Road Watch” signs are being posted around Minto and larger signs are expected to be posted at town arenas informing people of the new program. The committee has raised about $1,300 to have the signs made.
Police are also expected to talk to students at local schools about the program.
“It’s a very good cause so it makes it an easy sell,” Colwell said of the education process.
The kick off was held at the Harriston arena in conjunction with the Optimist Club Bike Rodeo. OPP Staff Sergeant Susan Gray welcomed the new program.
“Road safety is a priority for police in Wellington County,” she said.
Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece said over 40 communities are involved in the Road Watch program.
“It could save lives and get some aggressive drivers off the road,” he said.
Mayor George Bridge also welcomed the program. “If it saves any lives or causes people to slow down that’s a definite benefit,” the mayor said.