I had an interesting conversation with a driver at the roadside last Monday morning. I had stopped him for driving at 107 km/h in the posted 80 zone entering a high collision zone on Highway 4 east of Port Alberni. Speed is a particular problem in this zone as a primary contributor to collisions there.
"Why are you writing me a ticket for this? I wasn't driving dangerously." was his first response. I explained about the high collision rate due to speed in the highway segment he was about to enter. "It's a bright sunny day with dry roads and light traffic. I'm not causing any problems for other drivers by choosing to drive at this speed." he countered. I responded with comments on highway design speed, how he had no control over what other drivers on the highway might do and as a licensed driver he had a responsibility to follow the rules of the road.
He signed for a copy of his ticket and told me that this was a small price to pay for driving at whatever speed he wished. There were few traffic enforcement personnel on the road and he was rarely stopped so it was not expensive in the long run compared to the benefit of spending less time in his car traveling from place to place. He had no intention of slowing down.
I am at one end of the spectrum of drivers. I believe that one must follow the traffic rules properly at all times so that other drivers know what to expect from me. This enables them to make decisions in the operation of their vehicle based on those rules and we will not interfere or collide with each other.
This driver is nearer to the other end, where a driver picks and chooses which rules suit them to follow, if they choose to follow the rules at all. Perhaps speed control is the only rule that this driver doesn't follow.
Which one of the two of us is correct, or does the right answer lie somewhere in between? Society's conventions do change over time, but I think that this is a change for the worse. It is not socially acceptable to choose to ignore the traffic rules that are put in place to keep us all safe on the highways of British Columbia.