Why Aren't the Police Enforcing Traffic Laws?

image of officer writing a traffic ticketIt seems that traffic policing involves only three things where I live: speeding, seat belts and alcohol. From my point of view there is effectively no policing of other bad driving habits. Consequently we now have a majority of drivers not using signals to change lanes. A large percentage seems to have no idea that a left turn should end up in the left lane and right lane on a right turn. To make matters worse, police are also guilty of some of the same bad practices.

One can only assume it's much easier to collect fines by the hundreds sitting on the side of the road pulling over individuals out of the traffic with laser traps. It would be interesting to see the percentage of speeding tickets to bad driving habit tickets.

So, if the police won't enforce the driving laws other than their favorite three, perhaps ICBC should conduct an advertising campaign on T.V. showing the correct driving procedures and how this can make driving a better experience for all.

If we're not going to enforce the traffic laws, why have them?

This person raises a number of interesting points in their observations.

The Reason for Traffic Laws

The function of law is to protect the free exercise of my rights against infringement by any other person, and to prevent me from interfering with the free exercise of the same rights by others. Traffic laws create the framework that tells us how to behave when we drive to accomplish this goal.

10% For Everything Else

The current emphasis of traffic enforcement in British Columbia is 30% speeding and aggressive driving, 30% seatbelts and 30% impaired driving interdiction. Speeding, aggressive driving and alcohol are a significant contribution to collisions and seatbelts are the best way to reduce the possibility of injury or death if you can't prevent the collision.

The 10% of time left may be spent at the officer's discretion.

Too Much Speeding Enforcement

There were 474,023 traffic tickets issued to drivers in 2022. 194,674 or 41% of those tickets were issued for speed related offences.

Who Is Responsible?

Under the Police Act, the Policing and Security Branch is responsible for ensuring adequate and effective levels of policing and superintending law enforcement. They do list contact information for inquiries about policing.

Effective Enforcement of Traffic Laws

Perhaps what we need is a total reorganization of traffic policing in our province. Amalgamate CVSE and IRSU, then move all traffic enforcement personnel into it from the RCMP and municipal policing positions. The officers would work under focused management and be less subject to having to fill general policing functions that are not traffic related.

Driver Education

ICBC and RoadSafetyBC are the government agencies responsible for driver education. The primary responsibility for driver education does belong to the driver though. When you first received your driver's licence you met the minimum standard for driving skills. Neither of these agencies provide any requirement or positive incentive for improvement after this point.

ICBC does have a YouTube channel and a Road Safety section on their website but there is no instruction beyond the Street Sense hazard perception training application.

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While some people think that the RCMP are not enforcing most traffic laws, I know they aren't!

The main concern is the Impaired driver. Speeding seems to be monitored mostly in areas known to have crashes.

The biggest problem in regards to the lack of Policing, is the lack of a Municipal Police force, with a mandate of traffic law enforcement. The RCMP appear to be more concerned with Criminal activity, and put traffic law enforcement at the bottom of the list due to priority.

While the whole of the Okanagan is crawling with law breakers of every kind day and night, a consistent form of law enforcement doesn't exist. Everyone you speak to in the valley, talks of the same problems in regards to bad driving habits, noise and aggressive driving. Everyone also states that the reason that it is this way is because of the lack of consistent enforcement.

When you can drive all day or all night and not see or pass one cop car, you know somethings a miss. You think that all of the crazy drivers don't realize that there isn't a Police presence suitable to stop their profound acions. Anyone who drives the Okanagan roads knows that the lack of Policing is a serious problem. It's bad enough that so many people have bad driving habits, but when they constantly get away with being law breakers, it's time for a new game plan.

The problem is that there is no new game plan. There is no extra enforcement anywhere, there isn't even basic traffic law enforcement to an acceptable level. When you have a good percentage of drivers travelling at highway speeds in residential areas, you know there is something really wrong.

Thousands of vehicles drive down Springfield Road in Kelowna daily, Speed reader boards prove that speeding is an epidemic, and yet no real consistent form of traffic law enforcement is to be seen. In the evenings when most crashes take place, traffic enforcement is rarely seen, and when it is present, doesn't last long enough to have an effect, so it is basically useless.

Traffic offences range from not stopping at stop signs, or lights, to speeding at over 100 km/hr any day of the week. When residents have seen and watched this for a few years and have made hundreds of complaints without any proactive form of measure implemented, you know something is really wrong.

I have asked this question for many years, with all of this craziness taking place on our streets daily, "Where are all the Police, and the enforcement"? It appears we don't have any Police for law enforcement anymore, we don't have Police to walk the beat and protect our communities and neighborhoods, we don't have any response to our complaints, we don't have any form of consistent proactive enforcement, we have a full blown out of control nightmare!

Many people have also given up calling the Police to make a complaint because they know nothing will be done to remedy the on-going concerns. People are being constantly disturbed by noisy exhaust systems which have become ever so popular on many vehicles, this should be outlawed completely, and isn't even being enforced!

The RCMP are also scared of the Hells Angels, and will not stop and ticket them with their Harleys with strait pipes and no mufflers. Last year I complained about 4 or 5 racing through my neighborhood after 2 a.m. I got the plate numbers, addresses of the offenders, and the officers all called me back to say there was nothing they could do about the noise or the speed!

Absolutely rediculous! I go out of my way to supply the Police with plate numbers and addresses as to have the noisy bikes dealt with, and I get told there is nothing that can be done. So, for 2 years I was woken up by noisy Harleys racing past my house, because of the lack of enforcement of laws created to protect us!

So, yeah, Why aren't the Police Enforcing all the traffic laws under the MVA?

And, what happened to the noise laws that protected us from noisy bikes with no mufflers?

Not a priority, or lack of members to do the job!

I say its time for a new Municipal or Provincial force with a new mandate for Community Policing and law enforcement, the RCMP can stay and babysit the Criminal drug and Gang scene.

As motorists we see violations as we drive. "Where are the police, why aren't they doing something." Many times it's a situation where we may have been in the right place in the right time to see a violation, and had a police officer been at that location at that time perhaps a ticket would have been issued for the offense seen.

The other day I saw something that concerned me greatly, it was in West Kelowna and saw something that didn't require a police officer to be present at a particular moment of a violation. This vehicle was a travelling violator, anywhere this vehicle travelled, it was there to be seen and ticketed. The vehicle had the darkest tinted windows one could have. I'm surprise enough could be seen by the driver to actually operate the vehicle. I'm talking all the windows including the driver's side window and passenger side window, plus the vehicle was affixed with a license plate cover that was so dark, that as I was stopped directly behind the subject vehicle at a light I could barely read the plate number.

This WAS a safety issue. For various reasons. Drivers do take notice of other driver's faces and where they are looking, making eye contact is part of defensive driving, BUT it's a safety issue for police as well. No police officer feels comfortable walking up from the rear of a vehicle they have stopped when they can't see inside the vehicle. Yes, perhaps the driver just had the windows tinted minutes earlier, along with the plate cover, but I doubt it.

There are lots of violations that police just don't sit and wait for, turn signals for example. I was told by a traffic engineer for the City of Vancouver that on placing a turn prohibition sign they didn't really worry if police ticketed violators or not. Signs were erected with the knowledge that on average a turn prohibition sign stopped 80% or more of vehicles from turning and thus kept traffic flowing enough to be successful.

Frankly I do not believe that 30% of time is being spent on impaired driving, at least in the lower mainland.

20-30 years ago counterattack was out all the time on weekends and in the holiday partying seasons.

The last time I saw any anywhere was the relatively recent (but advertised and totally avoidable) stops at every exit on Highway 1. Prior to that I would have to go back several years to have seen any.

Most of the speed enforcement is on rural/semi rural roads or the highway that rarely see speed related accidents but obviously result in a lot of tickets.

Police driving habits are abysmal, speeding for no apparent reason, failing to signal, visibly erratic driving when distracted by their computer.

Traffic enforcement sure seems targeted at maximizing volume of tickets and not at addressing the most dangerous behaviours. Perhaps a traffic only force is the answer, I don't know.

It's fair enough, realizing that a cop can't apprehend everyone all the time when they're on shift. Traffic is like that - they wouldn't make it half a block before someone makes an error.

But at the same time, their fondness for nailing speeders (usually on the sections of highway that have the safest sight-lines) and actively avoiding intersections infringement involving ALL road users has to end. It's ridiculous.