Keeping an eye on stop signs

Last Friday’s beautiful weather lent a perfect backdrop to a public-safety awareness campaign designed to call attention to the importance of making a full stop at stop signs.

The May Kahnawake Stop event ran from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. this past Friday at various intersections throughout the community, with Peacekeepers patrolling high-traffic intersections such as the crossings near Karonhianonhnha School, Kateri School and Kateri Memorial Hospital Center (KMHC), as well as in busy residential intersections in the village and Clay Mountains areas.

Peacekeepers Public Relations Officer Kyle Zachary was stationed at an intersection in the Clay Mountains neighbourhood and was pleased with what he saw.

“I like seeing the drivers do a double-take when they see the Peacekeepers truck at the intersection,” he said. “It tells me people are being more aware of what they’re doing and being conscious of coming to a full stop at stop signs.”

The point, Zachary said, was not to give out tickets but to raise drivers’ awareness of the importance of coming to a full stop.

“It’s not supposed to be about giving out tickets, but if they have to be given, they will be,” he said.

The Peacekeepers stopped 19 vehicles and gave out 14 citations for failing to come to a complete stop. They gave out eight tickets in 2023.

“It was a beautiful day, and I don’t know if that meant there was more traffic on the road, but we definitely issued more citations this year,” Zachary said.

The first May Kahnawake Stop event was held a decade ago, continued through 2015 and went on hiatus again until last year, organizer Timmy Norton explained.

“It started out as a ticket campaign, but it’s morphed into a public-awareness campaign over the years,” Norton said. “That way people have become more open to it and they were more aware. But most of the time, people don’t stop at stop signs in Kahnawake. They make no effort to stop and that has to change.”

Norton feels passionately about public safety in Kahnawake and that was the impetus for May Kahnawake Stop.

Safety is everyone’s law, and we don’t want to see any children harmed or injured because people are impatient and can’t be bothered to stop for a full three seconds at a sign, which is the law in Kahnawake as well as outside of the community,” Norton said.

Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Iori:wase