September 25, 2022

La Ronge Northerner

Complete Canadian News World

In the world of special road constables

Often confused with Ministry of Transport road supervisors or construction site flaggers, road controllers are actually neither. Intrusion into their universe, unknown to the public.

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“Commercial vehicles are usually intercepted [de la petite voiture de livraison au grand train routier, en passant par les autobus et les taxis]”Whether they commit a crime or to investigate it,” explained Marie-Josie Michaud, public relations agent of Contrôleroute Québec, which gave us direct access to the work of its agents for a few hours.

When we arrived, earlier this month before 9:00, at the highway 40 checkpoint near L’Assomption, a large heavy vehicle (excessive length and width) requiring a special circulation permit was already reserved for checks.

“Overloading, securing, mechanical, these are all crimes we see frequently,” explained Ms Michaud.

In this case, the driver was able to present a valid license for his truck, but the vehicle plate was suspended due to a flat tire, a situation that compromises the safety of road users. “To get it back on track, the owner has to carry out the repairs and have the engine inspection certificate that we issued to him during the intervention signed by the SAAQ agent, who confirms that the repairs have been made,” Ms Michaud said.

General-Road Controllers-Embargo

Simon Desseurault / QMI Agency

In patrol mode

Afterwards, we spent over an hour with Patrolman Stéphane Curie and Ms. Michaud in the Quebec Roadside Control Emergency Vehicle to get to know their work better.

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First stop: The Point-du-Jour service area is further east, still on 40, near Lavaltrie. Reason: Checking license plate numbers of stopped trucks to detect stolen vehicles.

We then headed to an area frequented by HGV drivers wanting to avoid a motorway checkpoint, ie country roads away from the motorway.

General-Road Controllers-Embargo

Simon Desseurault / QMI Agency

“It’s restricted to heavy vehicles, so we can see why they’re going there,” Stephen Querrey noted. In the end, we didn’t see any suspicious vehicles during this segment.

However, we had a surprise at the end of this patrol. The patrol vehicle made an abrupt turn to catch a light delivery vehicle in a parking lot in downtown L’Assomption.

“His trailer had no turn signals and no brake lights, which is important even though it’s a light vehicle, Ms. Michaud added. And it didn’t have position lights on the sides. There were a lot of violations.”

Practice

Highway Patrolmen are peace officers responsible for enforcing more than forty laws and regulations related to road safety. In particular, they may intervene in certain criminal offenses such as impaired driving, dangerous driving or hit-and-run.

Their tasks are therefore more similar to those of police officers than road patrols or side signallers – they are also peace officers.

Also, to become a traffic controller, you must follow and pass a 21-week training course at the École Nationale de police du Québec (ÉNPQ) in Nicolet.

Last July, 12 graduates were sworn in at the ÉNPQ, a step to formalize their arrival within the ranks of the SAAQ under the charge of the Comptroller Commandeur Quebec. The organization has around 300 agents.

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