Long weekend revellers will make for busy highways over the coming days and motorists will encounter an increased presence of law enforcement as officers attempt to thwart speeding as well as distracted and impaired driving.ncrease in law enforcement presence as officers attempt to thwart speeding as well as distracted and impaired driving.

“The Alberta Integrated Traffic Unit, which is RCMP members and Alberta sheriffs, are going to be out all long weekend trying to keep people safe on our roadways,” said RCMP Sgt. Darrin Turnbull.  “May long weekend is, tragically, one of the most dangerous long weekends to be out on the highways.”

“Everybody needs to slow down, everybody needs to pay attention, leave their cellphones alone, drive sober and wear your seatbelt.”

Sgt. Jason Graw of the Alberta Sheriff Highway Patrol says there were five fatal collisions in Alberta, outside the major urban centres, during the 2016 May long weekend with the majority occurring at intersections.

“If you look at Alberta collision statistics over May long weekend, the average tends to be between three and about seven (fatalities) which is too many,” said Graw. “Even one is too many. All of these collisions are preventable.”

Graw says the stance of law enforcement is pro-safety, not anti-fun.

“It’s May long weekend, we want everyone to have a great time,” explained Graw. “We just want them to keep the distractions and the alcohol put away and make sure they get to their destination safely and then the fun can start once they get there.”

During the 2016 Victoria Day long weekend, the Integrated Traffic Unit issued:

  • 3,105 speeding tickets
  • 73 seatbelt violation tickets
  • 22 distracted driving tickets

Police expect to see an increase in highway traffic during the long weekend as Parks Canada offered free passes for 2017 in celebration of Canada 150. An influx of vehicles is expected in Banff, Jasper and Waterton National Parks this weekend and throughout the summer.

With files from CTV's Kamil Karamali