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Looks like the Govt if at any of us that move a bit fast.
Speeders targeted for bigger penalties
Excessive speeders face double demerit points
Jeremy Sandler [Sound Off]
Saturday, June 22, 2002
[Click here to find out more!]
The B.C. government is getting set to increase fines and double the number of demerit points issued for traffic offences such as excessive speeding.
Solicitor-General Rich Coleman confirmed Friday the Liberal cabinet is looking at a dramatic hike in the penalties applied to those convicted of driving more than 40 km/h over posted limits.
Fines for excessive speeding are currently anywhere from $345 to $460, plus three demerit points. Coleman said the government is proposing to double the number of demerit points handed out, but cabinet has not yet decided on how big the fine increases should be.
The hike in demerit points will mean drivers will automatically have to pay a demerit premium levied by ICBC of at least $300, in addition to their ticket costs.
No premium is currently levied against drivers with three or fewer demerit points, but under the new system, just one excessive speeding conviction would mean six points and a $300 bill.
Coleman said the initiative is aimed at making roads safer.
"Excessive speed at the top levels is one of the biggest contributors to serious and fatal motor vehicle accidents," he said.
Coleman said the move is not a cash grab on the part of the government.
"This is not a significant impact on revenues. This is an impact on certain people going at a certain speed that they are putting their lives and others in danger," he said.
Coleman added that the fine increase would not apply to other offences, such as speeders going less than 40 km/h over posted limits. The fines for speeding that is not deemed "excessive" currently range from $115 to $230, plus three demerit points.
"None of the other categories would change," Coleman said.
But Michael Cain, research director for Safety by Education Not Speed Enforcement (SENSE), a lobby group that originally fought the use of photo radar in B.C., said the government needs to look at increasing speed limits on some roads before it hikes fines for excessive speeding.
"What they're trying to do is fight street racing," Cain said. "These increased fines are not going to represent a deterrent to wealthy street racers, but they are going to be an exceedingly high fine on some drivers who are caught ... where speed limits are posted too low."
Cain said the B.C. government should have to prove the reasonableness of posted speed limits, as is done in some U.S. jurisdictions. If a speed limit cannot be shown as reasonable, drivers exceeding it may not be ticketed.
Cain also said demerit points should be issued on a sliding scale, so that one or two lesser speeding offences would not result in whopping demerit charges.
"What the government should be doing is making the lowest level of speeding, which is zero to 20 [km/h over the limit], a two-point offence, leaving the 20-40 as three points, and 40-60 would be four points and 60-over would be five points," he said. "That would then be a graduated points system."
Inspector Don Saigle, the officer in charge of traffic services for the RCMP in B.C., said police forces around the province have been contacted about the government's plan. He thinks the government's initiative is a good one.
"I think this is one of the administrative sanctions that can be imposed to assist the driving public in recognizing the inappropriateness of that type of behaviour," he said. "If people violate their privilege of operating a vehicle, then there needs to be an expectation that there is some punitive action that will follow as a result."
University of Ottawa criminology professor Julian Roberts, an expert on sentencing issues, expects the plan will reduce the total amount of excessive speeding.
"People are fairly sensitive to the penalty for driving offences," he said. "So I would say increasing the penalty, increasing the fine, would have a deterrent effect."
But Roberts added convincing people they're going to get caught is equally important to the stiffness of the penalty in modifying behaviour.
"The fine for jumping a red light could be $10,000, but it's not going to deter people if they don't think they're gong to get caught," he said. "You need to have a stiff fine and you need to convince people that ... there is a reasonable probability of being caught."
DRIVERS' FINES AND DEMERITS
Each traffic offence committed by B.C. drivers calls for certain fines and demerit points. Below are selected Motor Vehicle Act offences, listed with their related fines and driver penalty points.
Every B.C. driver who accumulates four or more driver penalty points must pay a driver penalty premium in order to renew his or here licence. The money goes to ICBC, which uses it to reduce premium costs for drivers. The more points a driver accumulates, the more it costs to renew a licence.
Driver penalty point (DPP) premium chart
Penalty Premium $
50 or more $24,000
Drive contrary to restriction (e.g., not wearing corrective lenses)
Fail to produce driver's licence or insurance
Fail to yield to pedestrian
Drive without due care
Speed in school zone
Fail to stop for school bus
Change lanes without signal
Disobey stop sign
U-turn - intersection
Pass on right
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