Const. Mark Gaschler of the Oceanside RCMP checks a pick-up truck during the annual winter driving campaign Tuesday along the Inland Highway. Hundreds of vehicles were checked.

Const. Mark Gaschler of the Oceanside RCMP checks a pick-up truck during the annual winter driving campaign Tuesday along the Inland Highway. Hundreds of vehicles were checked.

Police check hundreds of vehicles Tuesday on the Inland Highway

It was part of the annual winter driving campaign and stressed safety concerns

Hundreds of vehicles were pulled over Tuesday by RCMP but only about a dozen tickets were issued.

Cpl. Mike Elston, who spearheaded the annual winter driving campaign, said it was more about safety than anything else.

“Overall we’ve had a positive response,” Elston told The NEWS from the site of the campaign, set up just south of Horne Lake Road along the Inland Highway.

Elston said seven police officers were on hand — including members from Central Vancouver Island Traffic Services, Oceanside RCMP and Nanaimo Integrated Road Safety unit. Additionally, natural resource units, commercial vehicle inspectors, Emcon traffic controllers and ICBC helped out.

Vehicles travelling southbound were flagged to the side of the highway where forestry and commercial vehicles were checked by their respective inspection bodies and RCMP officers checked all other vehicles for license compliance, tires, lights and windshields.

“We’re checking cars for safety,” said Elston, noting that winter is just around the corner, meaning the road conditions will be weather-dependent and drivers should prepare their vehicles accordingly. “We’re not here to give out tickets as much as we are here getting people to comply (for the winter season).”

The campaign ran from 8.30 a.m. to 3.15 p.m. and approximately 400 vehicles were checked, 8 logging trucks and 12 commercial vehicles.

Fifteen violation tickets and 58 notices (to comply) were issued, mostly in relation to tires, lights and windshields.

“For the safety of everyone using the roads, drivers are urged to ensure their vehicles are in good condition and ready to tackle rain, snow and any other adverse weather and road conditions,” said Elston, who added “people are more likely to comply when they’re asked nicely.”

Elston said failure to comply within two weeks may result in a $598 fine.

“As the weather gets worse accidents will increase,” he said, as it started to rain. “This is the first winter we’ll have with the 120 kilometre per hour speed limit (on the highway) … just because the sign says 120 kilometres doesn’t mean you have to drive that fast, do what feels safe.”

ICBC road safety coordinator Caroline Robinson said people need to get “mentally prepared” for winter driving.

“The speed limits posted are for ideal (weather) conditions,” said Robinson. “When it starts to snow or rain, drivers need to make a mental shift — the worse it gets outside the more people need to slow down.”

Elston said if a person is driving in the right lane they cannot get a ticket for driving too slow.