The RCMP ‘K’ Division helicopter, a 2007 Eurocopter AS350 A-Star, took to the air with a trained RCMP officer acting as an observer to help spot vehicles:

  • moving significantly faster than the flow of traffic
  • following at an unsafe distance
  • making unsafe or multiple lane changes
  • exhibiting signs of driver impairment

The trained airborne observer is able to determine a vehicle’s speed using a stopwatch and marked enforcement areas painted on the highway.

“We know that speed is a factor in about 25 per cent of the fatal and serious injury collisions that occur on Highway 2,” explains Sheriff Jason Graw. “Using an aircraft as an observation platform gives our officers the ability to spot vehicles that are traveling conspicuously faster than the flow of traffic, and gives us another tool to use (to) help slow some of these vehicles down and, in turn, reduce the number of serious injury and fatal collisions that are occurring.”

On Friday, during four hours of helicopter aided enforcement of the QE II, 28 vehicles were stopped by RCMP ground units and a total of 35 tickets were issued for violations ranging from speeding to following too closely.

“Aircraft enforcement is a tool that Integrated Traffic Units throughout Alberta will be using on a more frequent basis,” says Graw. “Motorists should bear this in mind as they travel on provincial highways, and lower their speed accordingly.”