Illegal left turns a concern for RCMP

Drivers attempting to turn left on a double yellow line could face ticket, warning

If you’ve ever travelled down a one-way during rush hour, there’s a good chance you’ve been held up by a vehicle attempting to turn left across a double yellow line.

According to Const. James Grandy with the Penticton RCMP, this is a common traffic violation that the RCMP watch for.

“Turning left on a double solid line, especially on Main Street when it’s quite busy, is a concern,” said Grandy. “We are actively ticketing, or at least warning, drivers that it’s just not acceptable. Especially when you have streams of traffic behind you.

“It’s not only unsafe, but it’s making Main Street a lot more congested.”

In B.C., 840 tickets were issued in 2017 for crossing a solid double line. Penticton RCMP could not provide statistics for how many tickets are issued within the city when it comes to illegal left turns.

“It comes down to the fact that there are hundreds of motor vehicle act (tickets) that can be issued to drivers,” said Grandy.

“There’s just not enough police officers and traffic unit members to be able to enforce all these motor vehicle act (provisions).

“Just pulling people over for turning left on a double solid line, you could spend weeks and every day you could continually ticket different people for doing it. There’s no end to it.”

Related: Two days of snow, two dozen crashes in one Okanagan city

Penticton also has two one-way streets that leave many drivers confused about the legality of turning left onto them when the light is red.

In 2017, 207 tickets were issued in the province in relation to drivers performing improper left turns.

“Being able to turn left on a one-way street, which we have a couple of in Penticton, is legal on a red light as long as it is safe to do so,” said Grandy. “We don’t see a lot of legal issues with that.”

He did note that if a driver were to turn left onto a one-way and it was not safe or caused a traffic accident, he or she could be found at fault by ICBC.

Related: ‘Laws of physics apply to everybody’: RCMP warn drivers as winter hits B.C.

“Ultimately, in the case of turning left onto a one-way when the light is red and it’s unsafe to do so, it’s not different than being at a stop sign and proceeding too quickly or not quickly enough and not giving drivers enough time to stop,” said Grandy.

Grandy said while RCMP are watching for these types of illegal left turns, ultimately they are more concerned with more serious offences such as operating a cellphone while driving.

“There’s a huge priority for finding drivers committing more serious offences, like talking on your cellphone, running red lights, excessive speeds and things like that.”

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
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