COMMENTARY: Fresh face to Highway 138 police enforcement

(Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

Highway 138 is a highway filled with countless tales of harrowing near misses, horrible crashes and too many lives lost.

They are purposefully not called accidents but, in almost every case, they were entirely preventable. For instance, the young Cornwall school teacher from Embrun who lost her life last year to an impatient driver who aggressively tried to pass a tractor-trailer.

But a fresh face to local policing in SD&G is hopefully bringing a change to that and it’s already being noticed.

South Stormont Mayor Bryan McGillis, who says he travels the highway two or three times a day, already notices an increased number of OPP cruisers on the two-lane link between Highway 401 and Highway 417.

“You still see a lot of radical drivers passing…making it in (to their proper lane just) in time…people still passing on the right,” McGillis told the police board last week.

Newly minted Detachment Commander Marc Hemmerick gave a nod to officers on the OPP’s road safety committee. “We really need to continue our visible enforcement presence on the 138.”

Let’s hope Hemmerick’s plan long term is to really police Highway 138 – hard – because the Ontario government’s dismissal of twinning the highway over the next decade and choosing instead to put in commuter parks and slip lanes that will somehow magically improve motorist safety is not going to cut it.

I’m Bill Kingston.