Vernon Community Safety Unit volunteers Lyle Duffield and Blair Derry clock speeds along Okanagan Landing Road with RCMP Const. Chris Terlesko during a recent speed watch blitz for the start of the school year. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

Okanagan volunteers slowing down speeders

Speed Watch program back in action with schools back in session

Heavy footed drivers appear to be easing up in some Okanagan school zones.

Speed Watch volunteer Blair Derry is back in action clocking speeds around Vernon, and following a stint on Okanagan Landing Road Tuesday, Sept. 15, he noted very few going over the 30 kilometre limit.

“There doesn’t seem to be as many bad speeders as two or three years ago,” Derry told RCMP Const. Chris Terleski. “They seem to be going a bit slower.”

In fact, many drivers even extended a wave to the speed watchers, appreciating their efforts to keep kids safe.

“It works, it really slows people down,” Derry said of the Vernon Community Safety Unit program, which is supported by ICBC.

Volunteers like Derry are back in action following a pandemic pause, not just checking speeds, but acting as the eyes and ears for the RCMP around town.

“Lots of the groups were down because of COVID and this group is back up and running, which is fantastic because school has started again,” ICBC road safety coordinator Christine Kirby said.

READ MORE: Drive with caution through Vernon crosswalks, school zones

ICBC supports the Speed Watch program by supplying the equipment, such as readers, for the volunteers.

“Right now we are out every day, five days a week,” Derry said.

Crime Prevention Coordinator Regan Borisenko has been running the program for the last 10 years.

“It helps create a safe zone for kids going back to school. It’s also operated in high crash zones and high speed zones,” Borisenko said.

While most drivers appear to be abiding by the law, there’s always some who are in a hurry. That’s where RCMP roll in to support the Speed Watch volunteers.

“If they are going too fast and decide not to slow down even though they’ve had the warning the RCMP are there to educate them further with a more memorable ticket,” said Borisenko.

It’s thanks to volunteers like Derry, who put in a minimum of 80 hours a year with the safety unit, who are making a difference.

“It’s my opportunity to give something back to our community and make our community a good place to live,” said retired Derry, who has been volunteering for nine years. “It’s really worthwhile. It’s also good for me to keep me busy.”

Armed with the speed reader gun, Lyle Duffield has enjoyed the job for the last 29 years.

“I just want to do something good for the community. And I want people to be safe,” said Duffield, who also has grandkids he wants protected.

Duffield works twice a month with the Speed Watch program, on top of conducting night patrols and acting on the quick response team.

“We have volunteers who put in up to 500 hours a year,” said Borisenko of the dedication in the community.

Volunteers like Derry were also recently out at the Paddlewheel boat launch doing safety and mussel checks on boats.

“We didn’t find any but we check for them to make sure,” said Derry. “And people really like the idea that we check for safety equipment because a lot of people don’t have everything they should have and they want to be safe out there.”

Next up, the safety unit will be focusing on distracted driving and looking for motorists who are paying more attention to their phones than the road.

READ MORE: Police on alert for distracted Okanagan drivers


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

ICBCRCMPSchoolsspeed cameraspeed limitsvolunteers

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Vernon Community Safety Unit volunteer Lyle Duffield clocks speeds along Okanagan Landing Road during a recent speed watch blitz for the start of the school year. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

Just Posted

The last forum before the election on Saturday focused on health care.
Boundary-Similkameen candidates talk health care over digital forum

The Support Our Health Care Society hosted the forum

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 18 COVID-19 cases, highest daily count since July

The total of COVID-19 cases in the region is now at 662

A Kelowna clinic decided to immunize their patients in a drive-thru flu clinic earlier this month. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Interior Health anticipates increase in flu vaccinations this season

Some 300,000 doses of flu vaccine ready for distribution across Southern Interior

The deer were allegedly shot within Princeton town limits, late at night. Black Press File Photo.
Armed man, in full camouflage, allegedly shoots deer in downtown Princeton

‘The list of charges goes on and on,’ said RCMP Sgt. Rob Hughes

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Voters are saying they felt safe voting in person despite the current pandemic. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Central Okanagan voters talk about their pandemic election experience

Despite an election taking place during COVID-19, residents said they felt safe voting in person

Efforts to replace the aging Rutland Middle School have been put off by another year by the ministry of education. (File photo)
Education ministry won’t replace Central Okanagan school anytime soon

New Westside Secondary top priority for ministry of education

Cole Collingwood casts his mock ballot at Vernon’s Mission Hill Elementary School ahead of the provincial election Oct. 24, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
PHOTOS: Okanagan students cast mock election ballots

At Mission Hill Elementary, the election is a chance to learn about the democratic process

Thanks to efforts by a Kelowna shelter and Elections BC, anyone who wishes to can vote in the 2020 BC Provincial Election, even if they don’t have a fixed address. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Kelowna group ensures people experiencing homelessness can vote

Shelter supervisor says voting ‘a fundamental right’ even for those without a fixed address

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen is planning to implement transit service in the West Bench area in September, 2021. (Black Press file photo)
Regional district to bring transit service to West Bench in 2021

Residents of area near Penticton will be consulted before plans are finalized

Most Read