Speeding

SpeedingI had an interesting conversation with a driver at the roadside one morning. I had stopped him for driving at 107 km/h in the posted 80 km/h zone entering a high collision area on Highway 4 east of Port Alberni. Speed is a particular problem as a primary contributor to collisions there.

"Why are you writing me a ticket for this? I wasn't driving dangerously." was his response to my request for his documents.

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 clearly had no intention of slowing down.

Speaking of price, I often hear of speeding fines being nothing more than a cash grab by government. If our politicians really wanted us to follow the speed limit, they would require vehicles to be limited to following them. So far, Ontario and Quebec are the only provinces that have implemented this, and then only on heavy commercial vehicles. They are limited to a top speed of 105 km/h.

Europe will require that vehicles manufactured after April 2022 incorporate mandatory safety features that include intelligent speed assistance. It will be a required retrofit for existing vehicles by May 2024. They expect intelligent speed assistance to reduce fatal collisions by 20%.

Curious, I asked Transport Canada if we are going to implement this for vehicles sold in Canada. I received a several hundred word response that essentially boils down to "We're looking at what other countries are doing, working on developing standards (especially with the US) and will consult with the public before we do anything."

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 they pick and choose which rules suit them to follow, if they choose to follow the rules at all. Perhaps speed limits are the only rule that this driver doesn't follow.

Which one of the two of us is correct? Does the right answer lie somewhere in between? Society's conventions do change over time, but I think that this attitude is overdue for a change. 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.

Comments

Enforcement

I’m with you in that I follow the rules too and guess what, I get passed by every car and truck on the road except for 18 wheelers going uphill. Pity there weren’t more police officers.

Speed Differential

Speed doesn’t cause accidents as much as speed differential does. Case in point: the highway merge.  If you follow your belief and accelerate into the highway at the regulated maximum then chances are you’ll cause an accident or at the very least disrupt the flow of traffic. 

Being right isn’t always the right thing for safety.

This hadnt been more exemplified that the left lane issue. Many law abiding folks didn’t see the harm in hogging the left lane as long as they maintained the speed limit.  The politicians disagreed and emphasized the keep right except to pass laws. 

Being safe is different from being law abiding. 

Laws are applied against the general vehicle type and driver skill. That 80 km/h max has to be as reasonable for a 5 ton vehicles as it does for a super car.  And that’s the problem and why some feel that as long as they are attentive and safe the speed limit may not be applicable. 

It’s a reasonable thing to think and necessary when entering traffic safely from a merge lane.

KRETP

I think that traveling at the speed limit in the left lane is not "hogging it" and point this out as a misguided attempt of the government to curry favour and send a mixed message to drivers: "Get out of the way for speeders!"

One traffic court justice agreed strongly with this view telling me that she would never convict if I were to write a driver doing the speed limit for failing to get out of the left lane.

Passing Problems

Hi there, my question for Canada would be that we have alot of 2 lane roads that when passing other vehicles you really have to speed up and be in control of this speed without having an automatic system stopping you from safely passing the other vehicle. I can see this causing numerous deadly head on collisions as the driver would be stuck with nowhere to go and bam!!!!

The Other Pedal

We tend to forget that there is another pedal to control our vehicle with. It's also one whose effects have been enhanced rather than limited by new technology. The brake.

In On Your Side :-)

I don't always like or agree with all rules that govern my life as a Canadian and I'm aware of what I can do about it if I really disagree,  and some people have.

As I read your posting I had a vision that Trump was the driver because it seems he had his own rules he followed despite what he expected of others. Just take a look at the mess he created.

I guess I'm more a rule person, knowing what the common ground is we're all expected to follow.

In my community we have a number of residents who blatantly defy rules for driving,  both residents and visitors alike.

Other Benefits

In my mind, keeping your speed down has the benefit of increasing reaction time in case something unexpected happens such as a deer bounding onto the road or another vehicle blowing a tire and swerving into your right-of-way. Now you have a greater chance and more time to make the correct decision. The other major benefit of keeping your speed down occurs when you do collide with another vehicle/bicycle/pedestrian - the damage will be less severe. What could have been a fatality is now an injury. What was an injury is now just damage to your vehicle. What was damage to your vehicle is now just a near miss.

You Don't Gain Much

I know speeding is a problem, I have yet to see what these drivers figure they are gaining by speeding by, sure is not much in time gained as you know.

My real problem is most, and I mean most drivers who ignore STOP signs no matter where. I have made comments to drivers I know as to why they don’t make a complete stop and their comment is, there is nobody coming so why not drift right on through.  I say to them, if that was a red traffic light would you do the same and there answer is no, I then say I rest my case. Running stop signs and speeding inside city limits is a real problem and of course we do not have enough traffic enforcement police.

The province also spent tens of thousands of dollars on regulation signs Keep Right Except To Pass, another sign ignored.

Lack of Political Will

Yes, enforce the traffic laws that reduce injuries and death. Excessive Speeding, impaired and distracted driving. Our political leadership do not have the will to impose frequent, regular ,penalties on those who cause accidents.

We are seeing this lack of Political will , and individuals who chose not to follow common sense rules with the Covid pandemic. So on it goes, as do vehicle accidents.

We do need or want a police state. Simply enforce a few critical rules or laws that will Make a difference . Educate and enforce a few critical rules.simple. Other Countries have done this and I know it works for accident prevention on Industrial sites.
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We have become a mediocre country and Province. Most Canadians think that Canada,s governments have done a poor job on COVID. This is a start, if they vote.

A Pandemic View

Implementing a speed control on vehicle units can be undone by those who choose not follow any rules. The wild west attitude.

Driving attitude has taken a needless number of lives and injured many. Perhaps we need to approach driving with a pandemic view.

It's a privilege.. not a right.

Attitude & Behaviour

In my previous life I had many discussions along these lines. I always told people that I really didn’t give a rat’s behind about attitude. What I really was after was behaviour modification. Maybe behaviour and attitude are connected but that’s a subject beyond my pay grade.

Highway 4

On that highway 4 which has some very bad stretches, there are a lot of people who tailgate.  They may know the road, and when they get to the straight stretch they speed.

There may also be drivers who speed because of drug/alcohol issues.  There are no places to pull over to let these drivers pass by. Both directions are very dangerous. The speed limit shouldn't be increased since the road is only two lanes with marginal  shoulders.

I certainly wouldn't be changing the law to suit traffic infractions. Perhaps the speeding ticket should be higher on two-lane highways.

Penalty Points

when i started driving in the mid 70’s , the government of the day implemented a points system,which, as far as my understanding goes, doesn’t allow the rich to simply buy their way out of bad driving practices… “a cost of doing business” per say. If implemented correctly, drivers like this, sooner or later,(if those patterns continue),  SHOULD lose their license( i know I did). At some point , that individual  would have to re-assess their behaviour. Perhaps this form of discipline needs to be more robust, so it actually has some teeth. While i am not a big fan of impounding cars of excessive speeders,(without an opportunity to challenge it legally) it is pretty obvious that this style of management appears effective. However , the uber rich just get another car,and the uber poor just continue to drive without a license.

Guilty

I have to admit that I also will tend to drive over the speed limit when I encounter good weather with light traffic.

Following Traffic Rules & Regulations

This story made me think of a TV show that was on quite a few years ago, and they performed an experiment to try and show why it how people speed or do not follow the rules.

They did this by first taking a group of people and had them drive around with their speedometers covered so they could not see how fast they were going.

The interesting part was that generally, people drove slower than normal, and when they all drove as a group, it seemed the best idea was to just match the person in front of you.

This takes away the “need” to go faster, and that old habit of people going just slightly over the speed limit because they think they can get away with going 110 in a 100 zone without getting a ticket.

If all the cars were going 100, and you didn’t know how fast you were going , you might be more inclined to just go with the traffic and not thinking you can or should go a little faster.

When I’m behind someone that is going too slow (which also happens and can be just as dangerous in certain situations), you know right away and can make a safe pass (if possible). I don’t think you would be as impatient either if you didn’t know exactly how much slower than the limit you were going.

Yes, there will still be speeders out there, and there will be dangerous drivers, but hiding the speedo will cut down on aggressive driving and road rage.

Are there times when you need to know the speed limit and speed you are going? Yes, like on a highway that has slow corners which take you from 100km/he down to 70/60/50 etc depending on the corner.

I think with new technology, car limiting and lack of speedos, it could be a lot safer out there.

Nice to know the MVA has only one regulation

Renault is the first company that I have seen is going to limit the top speed of their cars to 180k.

https://www.autoexpress.co.uk/renault/354844/renault-will-limit-top-speed-future-models-112mph

Of course if it is to be done to all vehicles that means all vehicles. Or as usual I imagine we are going to let the cops have their vehicles left unlimited. Here is an interesting video which shows that perhaps it should be the other way around.

https://www.youtube.com/yu5_YiEvNlw

Currently we hear lots of rhetoric about defunding the police. Personally I do not agree but there definitely has to be more evaluation before hiring. The Officer in the above video probably felt that if I become one of them the chances of getting away with speeding is greatly increased. And they even supply me with a hot car to do it with. Which we all know is true, that thin blue line as it is called.

If one looks at the stats from other countries one thing that pops out to me is many countries with higher speed limits have lower accident rates. In fact when looking at first world countries North America has the highest accident rates. So is it the speeding that is our major problem or lack of enforcement of the rules of the road?

Reading through the posts many feel that driving in the left when doing the speed limit should not be a crime. Sorry but my brain does not see that. What these people are advocating is one law for you another for me. B.C. does have a law in the MVA that states "Keep left except to Pass". Would someone explain how disregarding one law is any different than disregarding another? What it really comes down to is laws only matter if I agree with them. In this case we have Judges and cops both agreeing thou shall not enforce that law. I'm sorry but if you are going to disregard one you should disregard all.

I started my working career with the Provincial Government imposing the Forest Act. I was required to enforce ALL REGULATIONS not just the ones that I felt important. A police officer doing their duty should be required to do the same, along with Judges. Neither have been given the authority to pick and choose. Yet they do it every day. Then they wonder why our accident rates are high. It is because they cannot objectively perform their duty.

Have never gone through officer training so have no clue how it is performed but I do envision some person standing there saying over and over again that speeding is the main cause of accidents. Just look at the number of tickets issued per year. With the percentages provided the only explanation is that the majority have been brainwashed to believe they only have to enforce one rule. I'm sure if one put a force on the highway with more than one objective the accident rate would drop significantly. 

One also has to question the objectivity of accident investigation. If you start into an investigation with the idea programmed into your mind that you already know or at least in the back of your mind you have a good idea what caused the accident how likely are you to find proof of your pre-conceived ideas? In just about every case of wrongful conviction it was found the investigating officers focused on one suspect and built their case around them, ignoring everything else.

How about enforcing the MVA not just what is the easiest? As one person said it is just the cost of doing business.

And for all those that would love to see us speeders removed from the road don't expect any sharp decrease in the accident rate. Read the MVA then objectively look at your own driving, how many rules did you break today? And for all those posting above about the left lane, remember you are breaking the law! You are a far greater hazard on the road than me cruising along in the right lane above the speed limit, not tailgating, signal lane changes etc. We are both guilty.

Forgot to mention

Read the following years back in the Vancouver Sun.

When cross referencing between those receiving the maximum discount and those with penalty points it was found that a high percentage of people caught speeding were receiving the maximum discount for safe driving. Not so with other infractions.

For myself I started driving in the 40's and have been a licenced driver since the 50's and have yet to make a claim or have an accident.

Not saying I'm a good driver as we all make mistakes and can improve. I do wonder how many others here have taken courses since receiving their licence and do the sample tests provided by ICBC to keep up their knowledge of the rules of the road.

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