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The Rules of the Road: Keeping Families Safe

September 1st, 2015

By Constable James Kendrick

Google search defines driving as the control and operation of a motor vehicle. But what a boring way to describe something, that for me is so exciting to partake in. I understand that driving for some is a mode of transportation or even a chore but with the right mindset it can be relaxing or even exhilarating.

As a police officer with the Edmonton Police Service and a father of four I believe there is a need for more education about driving and rules of the road. I also understand that having a teen who is learning to drive can be a stressful time. For most parents, it’s the balance of giving them independence while keeping them safe. Researchers have noted a growing trend among teens and young adults (ages 16-25) where we are seeing a decrease in youths getting their driver's licence and waiting until they are older. Granted there are increasingly easier means to public transportation, but driving should be looked at a young age to increase awareness of all traffic laws including pedestrian ones.

Here is a few recommendations to parents or friends of someone that is just learning to drive.

-    Make good habits before departing and while driving.

-    Reduce distractions by powering down cell phones or put them onto silent      when getting into a vehicle.

-    Limit the amount of passengers a young/new driver has in their vehicle.

-    Keep a tidy interior so no objects are rolling around that can get wedged under the brake or accelerator.

-    WEAR your seatbelts as all objects become projectiles in collisions.

-    Finally try to relax, take deep breaths when you are nervous and focus on each task one by one.

Top Three Avoidable Collisions:

-   Fail to back up in safety: Section. 32 of the Use of Highway Rules of the Road Regulation. Fine $155.00

-   Rear end collisions Sec.115(2)(b) T.S.A. Careless Driving $543.00;  and

-   Unsafe Lane Change: Section 15(4)(a) Use of Highway Rules of the Road Regulation. Fine $155.00 UHR $233.00

Don’t let the above offences scare or deter you from driving, but be confident in your abilities.  Take as many opportunities you can to drive. Register for new courses on a regular basis and continually update your skills, breaking those bad habits.

If you have a driving enthusiast in your family you can join me or even race me at Castrol Raceway for JB’s Power Centre Street Legal Nights; where for $30.00 you can drag race any street car against Edmonton Police Service’s Blue Line Racing down the 1/4 mile. If cars are not your thing you can also race me with Edmonton Police Racing Association (EPRA) at Castrol’s 2.7 kilometre road course that is hosted by the Edmonton Motorcycle Roadracing Association (EMRA).

For parents with younger children who want them to have a driving experience without being on the highways, Kart Start is a great program that allows teenagers (aged 10 and up) and their families a true-real-world- understating of the physics behind driving a motorized vehicle”. Honda’s Junior Red Riders club is another great program that is designed for kids aged 6-12, teaching them the fundamentals of riding a motorcycle, while introducing them to safety on a bike that is fitted for their size.

For more information about Blue Line Racing please visit or if you have any questions about EPRA please contact Cst. James Kendrick at

Tags: advice, Safety, Teens, yeg

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