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Enforcement of current speed zone signs questioned

The co-chair of the Olds and Area Traffic Safety Committee will be writing a letter to communities that have yellow and black signs with a black posted speed on the sign, informing administration that those types of signs are not enforceable when clo

The co-chair of the Olds and Area Traffic Safety Committee will be writing a letter to communities that have yellow and black signs with a black posted speed on the sign, informing administration that those types of signs are not enforceable when clocking speeds.

The item was a discussion point at a recent OATS meeting.

All posted speed signs in the province must be the standard black characters on a white background in order to be enforceable, said Len Wagner, who also acts as a traffic safety consultant for the provincial government in an area stretching from the B.C. border east to the Saskatchewan border and from Wetaskiwin to Carstairs.

“The regulations in the Province of Alberta are set down as to what size the sign is, what's on it, what colour it is, etc. etc. and that prescribes for a speed limit, it must be a white sign with black letters on it. That's the only way that law enforcement can enforce that posted speed zone is that that sign is proper,” he said, adding that if the signs are yellow with black lettering, for example, the ticket can be thrown out of court.

“That's why an officer can't write a ticket on that sign because when he's challenged in court, he's going to lose that charge. He knows that ahead of time. Why would he even bother?” he said.

In order to remedy the situation, the provincial government needs to either amend the regulation allowing different types of signs or municipalities (or the provincial government) need to remove improper signs and install the correct ones, Wagner said.

Wagner said one reason why the yellow and black speed signs were put up was because they are extremely visible. But when they were put in place, people didn't think that the signs aren't enforceable.

For communities that aren't aware of the regulation, Wagner will be drafting a letter informing them of the need to take down any signs if they want the speed zone to be enforced.

In Olds, Norm McInnis, the town, chief administrative officer, said the issue of signage is up to the courts to decide. He said part of the review that the town recently undertook of playground and school zone signage looked at this issue.

“Once we get (the recommendations) implemented by council, we will be making sure that all of our signage is up to the new standard,” he said.

"Once we get (the recommendations) implemented by council, we will be making sure that all of our signage is up to the new standard."Norm McInnis, chief administrative officer, Town of Olds