Bad Drivers Make Easy Pickings.
aaArticle rank 21 Sep 2010 The Province— Staff Reporter, with a file by Jack Keating Bad drivers make easy pickings 1Caught speeders, drunk drivers pay
Twenty minutes after B.C.’s new drunk-driving regulations kicked into force at Sunday midnight, North Vancouver RCMP had issued their first three-day roadside prohibition.
Less than three hours later, they had two more, one of them a 90-day prohibition with a 30-day vehicle impoundment, they say.
Officers set up a roadblock near the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge at Sunday midnight. At 12:20 a.m. they stopped and tested a driver who was issued a three-day roadside prohibition and a three-day vehicle impoundment.
Shortly afterwards, an officer patrolling near Capilano Road spotted a vehicle weaving on the road, police say. That driver was also issued a three-day prohibition and impoundment, and, at about 3 a.m., a third driver stopped on Queensbury Avenue was issued a 90-day prohibition and handed a 30-day vehicle impoundment.
Each of the drivers faces hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of dollars in costs associated with fines, towing and vehicle-storage fees.
“It feels good,” said Cpl. Peter DeVries in a statement. “The community’s threshold of tolerance for drunk driving has reached zero. Now, with the enforcement powers afforded by this new legislation, police can more accurately reflect that threshold in a tangible and meaningful way.”
According to statistics provided by the Ministry of the Attorney-General, between 2005 and 2009, the number of impaired-driving charges and convictions processed by B.C. courts increased steadily.
Meanwhile, Langley RCMP began enforcing the new legislation regarding excessive speeding at 6 a.m. Monday and, by mid-morning, five drivers had their vehicles impounded for seven days.
“Pursuant to Section 148 of the Motor Vehicle Act, police now have the authority to impound vehicles for seven days if the driver is caught exceeding the posted speed limit by 40 km/h,” said Langley RCMP Cpl. Holly Marks. “These five drivers exceeded the speed limit by 50, 53, 55, 56 and 69 km/h.”
The five drivers were issued violation tickets ranging from $348 to $483, will receive three penalty points on their driver’s licence and will have to play an ICBC driver-risk premium of $320 per year for three years over and above their insurance premium, said Marks.
“The cost of towing and storage is on average $350,” said Marks. “As you can easily see, excessively speeding is a very expensive proposition. With a specified penalty of $368, a driver may be required to pay additional penalties totalling over $1,650. The message here is obey the speed limit.”
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Curious path to roadside justice for dangerous drivers
aaArticle rank 21 Sep 2010 The Vancouver SunCRAIG McINNES email@example.comVANCOUVER SUN Curious path to roadside justice for dangerous drivers 8If speed kills, why not bring back photo radar?
British Columbia’s new gettough traffic laws took effect this week, reflecting the born-again enthusiasm for road safety that is bursting out all over in Victoria.
Well, not quite all over. There is still a proven tool for persuading drivers to ease off the gas that the Liberal government is unwilling to reconsider: photo radar.
Solicitor-General Mike de Jong invited the media last week for a show-and-tell in Vancouver to publicize the new rules. He promised a display of the growing arsenal for targeting dirty drivers, such as the police helicopter; cameras that scan licence plates and run them automatically through the database to spot stolen cars or prohibited drivers; motorcycles, marked cruisers and ghost cars.
All were on hand to publicize the latest legislative tool, the new regulations that allow police to mete out roadside justice to drivers they determine have been drinking to a new, lower threshold of excess, or who have been speeding or even tailgating excessively.
The new penalties include immediately losing your car and licence, up to thousands of dollars in fines and costs to get them back, and related higher insurance costs. All handed down out without benefit of a day in court.
The erosion of the right to assert your innocence before the punishment is handed down is justified on the basis that dangerous driving kills, whether as a result of ignoring speed limits or judgment impaired by drinking or drugs.
The appetite for getting tough, however, seems to be more a change in the political climate than any spike in fatalities. Although de Jong and others calling for tougher sanctions argue that impaired driving is on the increase, the latest statistical analysis from the ICBC states that there is no consistent trend since the turn of the century in the number or rate of alcoholrelated deaths.
The same is true of speed-related deaths.
One thing that does show up in the numbers is that a downward trend in fatalities that had been going on for four years suddenly ended in 2002, when the number jumped from 398 the previous year to 453, which was roughly where it stayed for the next four years before dipping a bit.
Is it a coincidence that 2002 was the year that photoradar vans were pulled off the road?
A number of studies, including an analysis of the effect of photo radar in B. C., show that the existence of photo radar has the same effect that the government expects from its tough new measures against drinking and driving and excessive speed, that it causes people to pay a little more attention to the need to obey the law and the consequences if they don’t.
But the case against photo radar has always been political, not grounded in statistics. British Columbians were not upset because photo radar didn’t work, they were unhappy because it did. Thousands of speeders were nabbed by the silent roadside monitors, including me. In my experience, most of us are hypocrites when it comes to speeding — appalled when others do it, but glad to get away with it when we can. Safely, of course.
Premier Gordon Campbell made killing photo radar the first act of his new administration as part of his 90 days of action in the summer of 2001.
His action made a lot of people happy. So it was a popular move, but it didn’t make the roads safer. The statistics suggest it made them more dangerous.
Even though the Liberals have repositioned themselves on other parts of their original platform — on their opposition to the expansion of gambling, their opposition to treaty-making, on the sale of BC Rail and on making it easier to recall MLAs, to name a few — they have been steadfast in their opposition to photo radar even as they have embraced and expanded the use of intersection cameras.
That is probably good politics, but any serious crackdown on speeding would include photo radar.