It’s September of 2018 and there’s continued talk about the Province of British Columbia implementing speed cameras at intersections. I was disappointed to hear our Premiere, John Horgan, comment to the effect that this program is not a cash grab, because the locations of these camera’s will be well signed so that it’s no secret they’re there. I believe that this entirely misses the issue.
Speed limits are well signed in the majority of urban areas. Part of getting a drivers licence in B.C. entails passing a test that inquires as to the default speed limits in the event that no sign is available. Speed is a leading causative factor in crashes in British Columbia. Of the crashes involving fatalities, ICBC has identified speed as being a leading causative factor 30% of the time. Fatalities, that’s dead people, dead, they’re not coming home to their families.
What are we doing to stop speeding? Vigorous traffic enforcement? Hardly. I drive a lot each day. I travel by motor vehicle roughly 300 kilometres each day, most of it on the highway 97 corridor between Vernon and Penticton. I do this 5 days a week. In the morning, between the hours of 4:15 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. I have seen police with someone pulled over on fewer than 5 occasions in the 3 years I’ve been doing this. In the afternoon, between the hours of 3:00 and 5:30 p.m. I’ve seen less than 40 cars pulled over, and that includes a couple of speed traps I’ve passed that have multiple officers on an enforcement blitz. I’m usually within 5 kilometres of the limit, not more than 10, and everyone passes me. I mean everyone. I don’t mean they gradually creep up on me, perhaps going 10 over. No, I mean they blow past me, usually going at least 20 over the limit if I can rely on those speed reporting signs that are designed to encourage people to slow down. My estimation is that the average driver is 20 to 25 over the limit on highways. This is not one car, or a few, this is the majority of the traffic. Frankly, why should they slow down? It’s clear they don’t appreciate the increased risk of accident and injury, and there’s very little risk of getting caught by traffic enforcement given the tiny amount of enforcement that occurs, so… why not.
Speeding is a big issue in B.C. and speed limits are not a secret. Penalizing people who choose to speed is not a cash grab. It’s the responsible thing to do. The idea that somehow it’s unfair not to notify someone of the enforcement is ridiculous. We all know that there are laws against speeding. What’s unfair is that so many continue to do it.