Road Safety Enforcement and Auto Crime Prevention
Police Services Division, Road Safety Unit oversees the Enhanced Traffic Enforcement Program, an enforcement partnership program between the province, police and ICBC, that focuses on:
- reducing fatalities and serious injuries caused by crashes due to dangerous driving such as impaired driving, speeding, intersection violations, or using a hand held cell phone
- reducing auto crime
- addressing emerging road safety enforcement issues
- promoting public awareness
The program assists police and the public by providing tools, technology and additional officers, to help target problem areas or issues.
B.C.'s road safety strategies are outlined in the Ministry of Justice 2015/16 - 2017/18 Service Plan
Integrated Road Safety Units (IRSUs) – Targeting Dangerous Driving Behaviours
Speeding, aggressive driving, driving while impaired, lack of seatbelts or using a hand held cell phone or other (electronic) device while driving are dangerous driving behaviours because they regularly lead to serious collisions, injuries and fatalities. IRSUs focus exclusively on pro-active traffic enforcement to help reduce serious collisions, while other traffic police combine enforcement with response to calls and crash investigations.
IRSUs are made up of full-time, dedicated traffic enforcement officers from both the RCMP and municipal police. Because traffic problems don’t stop at municipal boundaries, these specialized units work across traditional police jurisdictions to address pertinent road safety issues. IRSUs are located in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, on Vancouver Island and in the North and Southeast districts of the province.
See Police Contact Information page on this website for list of IRSU unit names and contact phone numbers.
BaitCars are Everywhere – B.C.'s Auto Crime Prevention Program
A 'bait car' is a vehicle owned by the police and designed to be stolen. Once the 'bait' has been taken, the location, speed, and direction of travel of the vehicle are monitored by police dispatchers through GPS tracking. Everything that takes place inside the bait car is caught on real time audio and video as the dispatcher coordinates the police response. Once officers are in position, the engine is disabled allowing police to move in quickly to arrest the thieves.
The program also has recreational vehicles, mobile cargo and utility units, motorcycles, ATVs, boats, snowmobiles and a wide variety of bait property.
Go to www.baitcar.com to watch thieves being caught in the act.
IMPACT (Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team) is the specialized team of police/ auto theft investigators that operates the BaitCar program, and deploys special investigation teams. Promoting public awareness and developing new ways to reduce auto crime in the province has helped make IMPACT a leader in auto crime investigation and recovery.
IMPACT manages the Bait Car Program, now the largest Bait Car fleet in North America.
CounterAttack – Taking Impaired Drivers off the Road
CounterAttack is a police-run roadblock tactic used to catch drug and alcohol impaired drivers, and help reduce injuries and fatalities. CounterAttack campaigns have been running in BC for over 35 years, and typically take place during July and December each year. A major part of CounterAttack is getting the message out that B.C.’s impaired driving laws are tough, hold harsh penalties and there is a heightened likelihood that drivers who are affected by drugs or alcohol will be identified by police and removed from BC’s roads. For information about driving while affected by drugs and alcohol and applicable legislation see Road Safety BC website.
It’s important to understand the responsibilities that go along with serving alcohol –you have a personal and legal responsibility for the safety and well-being of your guests and attendees. The Special Occasion Support Kit is in place to help individuals, businesses, and communities help get the CounterAttack message out whenever holding an event where alcohol is being served. Posters, banners, information brochures, tent cards and more are available to have at your event to remind everyone of the dangers of drinking and driving and the possible impacts.
For more information or to order display materials, download this information sheet, Special Occasion Support Kit from ICBC's website.
Red Light Cameras – Intersection Traffic Safety
There are thousands of little decisions to make at an intersection. That’s why preventing intersection crashes helps save lives and reduce injuries. The provincial government, the RCMP and ICBC have recently expanded BC’s Intersection Safety Camera program.
Where cameras are located
Red light cameras are installed at BC’s worst intersections that experience high numbers of serious crashes. These cameras have the potential to reduce side impact and head-on crashes, as well as serious injuries and fatalities.
New signs are prominently posted at intersections to advise drivers that red light cameras are in place. For more information see Intersection Safety page on ICBC's website.
How the cameras work and violation tickets
If you enter an intersection equiped with a red light camera after the light turns red, a picture of your vehicle’s rear licence plate, with time, date and location securely encoded, will be sent to the intersection safety camera office. A special officer is responsible for reviewing the photo, laying a charge under the Motor Vehicle Act and prosecuting disputed violation tickets in court.
For more information see Red Light Camera Tickets page on ICBC's website.
Automatic Licence Plate Recognition – Licence Plate Cameras
Automated Licence Plate Recognition (ALPR) technologies are used nationally and internationally for law enforcement and many other purposes. In British Columbia, police agencies use ALPR to remove unlawful drivers from the road, as well as identify Motor Vehicle Act infractions and criminal activity that would, in many circumstances, go undetected. RCMP "E" Division Traffic Services is responsible for the daily management and delivery of the ALPR program for all police agencies that use this technology in BC.
The ALPR program was started in BC in 2006 as a pilot project between the RCMP and Police Services Division Road Safety Unit. ALPR is used to support auto crime reduction strategies; it also identifies unlicenced or uninsured drivers as well as drivers prohibited and/or suspended under the Provincial Motor Vehicle Act or the Criminal Code. These drivers are a major road safety concern and pose a significant risk to the public, as they are disproportionally represented in serious collisions.
The ALPR system uses infrared colour cameras and special recognition software to read licence plates at a rate of up to 3000+ per hour. The cameras are mounted on police vehicles and can scan licence plates on parked or moving vehicles.
Scanned licence plates are run against the ALPR hot list. The hot list is generated daily from the ICBC Driver’s database and the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database.
The secure hot list is loaded into ALPR-equipped police vehicles at the start of each shift. There is no live link or real-time access to CPIC or ICBC Driver’s databases. If a licence plate is a match or hit, an audio signal will alert the police officer. The police officer must then confirm any hits against the live CPIC and ICBC databases. When the hit is confirmed and, if appropriate, the officer will respond.
In the case of a hit, ALPR records the image of the vehicle, licence plate number, date, time and GPS coordinates of the vehicle and the type of hit. The police officer will also record what action was taken. No distinguishing features of vehicle ocupants can be seen in 98% of the pictures taken as the camera focuses tightly on the plate.
Non-hit information, where the vehicle licence plate is scanned but no hits are generated, is deleted from the system when the officer completes the end shift report in their vehicle. The only information saved by police is the date, time and GPS coordinates. This information is kept for statistical purposes.
The ICBC database provides information on licence plates associated with:
- Unlicenced drivers
- Uninsured motor vehicles
- Prohibited/suspended drivers
The CPIC database provides information on the following categories:
- Licence plates associated to stolen vehicles
- Licence plates associated to warrants (Canada-wide)
- Licence plates associated to warrants (BC-wide)
The following entries are those contained in the CPIC other pointer vehicle category:
- Licence plates associated to accused persons
- Licence plates associated to court actions
- Licence plates associated to missing persons
- Licence plates associated to prohibited persons
- Licence plates associated to individuals who are of special interest to police
- Licence plates associated to individuals under surveillance
All entries in the CPIC system originate from police investigations. It should be noted that not all entries in CPIC are linked by licence plate. On those CPIC entries that are linked by licence plate, enforcement action is only taken in instances where a moving violation has occurred and/or where there is a street enforceable condition on the CPIC entry. Some CPIC other pointer vehicle categories contain information that is not enforceable but is listed for officer and public safety reasons.
There are currently 49 ALPR-equipped vehicles in the province of British Columbia. The following police agencies operate vehicles equipped with ALPR technology within the provincial enhanced traffic enforcement program: RCMP Provincial or Municipal Traffic Units, Integrated Road Safety Units (IRSUs), Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team (IMPACT), Vancouver Police Department, Saanich Police Department, Abbotsford Police Department, Delta Police Department, Victoria Police Department and New Westminster Police Department.
ALPR is an effective tool for identifying and apprehending individuals who drive without a valid licence or insurance, or who have had their driving privileges revoked. The system also helps identify individuals with outstanding warrants or who are violating court ordered conditions.
Police officers who are not using ALPR-equipped vehicles have access to the same information from the live ICBC and CPIC databases; however, they must manually enter each licence plate number to retrieve the information first-hand as opposed to being alerted by the ALPR technology.
For more information on the licence plate cameras see Automatic Licence Plate Recognition Technology page on the BC RCMP website.
B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police – Traffic Safety Committee
The BC Association of Chiefs of Police (BCACP) Traffic Safety Committee (TSC) is the most active of all BC Chiefs committees and includes representatives from the police (RCMP and Independent Municipal Police Departments), ICBC, Justice Institute of British Columbia and the B.C. Government.
The committee helps promote road safety by identifying, prioritizing and addressing issues common to police and their partners; and advancing legislative changes and improvements in support of increased road safety.
Police Services Division Road Safety Unit is the Secretariat of the BCACP Traffic Safety Committee, responsible for government/police liaison and ensuring the success of the provincial road safety enforcement campaigns.
Road Safety Organizations and Initiatives
The Road Safety Unit has developed constructive partnerships with various organizations in the broader road safety community. The following links highlight some of the main road safety organizations and initiatives in B.C. and Canada:
Road Safety Provincial Enforcement Campaign Schedule
|March 1 - 31, 2015
||Distracted Drivers Campaign
Occupant Restraint Campaign
|May 1 - 31, 2015
||High Risk Driving Campaign
|July 1 - 31, 2015
||Summer Impaired Driving Campaign (Alcohol/Drug)
|September 1 - 30, 2015
||Distracted Drivers Campaign
Occupant Restraint Campaign
|November 1 - 30, 2015
|| Speed Relative to Conditions Campaign
|December 1, 2015 - January 1, 2016
||Winter Impaired Driving Campaign