OPINION - Automated Speed Enforcement

Red Light Camera SignI frequently drive both the Trans Canada Highway up the Malahat and onwards to Duncan and back to North Saanich where I live. The Malahat is a dangerous part of the highway, has been forever and yet most, and I emphasize, MOST People, far exceed the speed limit. I am frequently tail gated on the single lane portions of the Malahat, until it becomes 4 lanes; and then I am passed by most cars far exceeding the speed limit. I would guess when I am doing 80 or 90 KMH, dependent on which is posted, most cars are passing me close to 120KMH!

The same is on the Pat Bay Highway! And on both highways, it also includes big trucks, including semi-trailors!

"I never see a police car or radar set up and definitely, no photo radar!" If there was an increased use in policing / photo radar, there would be an obvious slow down of people driving these highways!!.

My point - I lived in Europe for a few years when in the military and since have traveled there for holidays, including Great Britain and France. In Great Britain the national highway speed limit (M routes) is 70 MPH (113 KMH). It never changes. The equivalent A routes, also 4 lane are usually 60 mph or approximately 95 kmh. Trucks (of a specific size) are NOT allowed in the passing lanes in both Great Britain and France (plus the majority if not all EU countries), unless there is an accident or blockage in the normal lane they are driving. Plus, on most highways the truck speed limit (for trucks usually over a certain size) and buses is less than for cars!!

The best part is that they employ photo radar everywhere and are not concerned about having the cameras "facing the on coming traffic". It is normally cameras off to the side of the highway and if you are caught speeding (literally exceeding the posted limit - (not 10 miles or kilometers above it!!) - you get a ticket in the mail. Failure to pay can result in loss of your license! When I was last in Europe prior to this pandemic, I rarely ever witnessed a car exceeding the speed limit. And recently even in France, where people used to drive very fast, they have slowed down due to the increased use of cameras / radar! And neither country has the constant speed changes I see here in BC and Canada.

Why can't or won't we do that here? It would slow people down, it would penalize the people who don't! Plus the aggravation and quite frankly, the danger in having big trucks passing you on the left and far exceeding the speed limit. No other jurisdiction seems to be concerned about having a photo radar camera "facing" the on-coming drivers, other than BC! I frequently see signs stating photo radar but we all know they likely do not exist!!! And if they did why are people still far exceeding the speed limits!!??

The US has laws that issue tickets for people who refuse to leave the left lane (passing lane) especially when they are barely driving "at" the speed limit. This is especially aggravating on the Pat Bay highway where most left lane drivers refuse to leave that lane because they have a left turn 20 KMs DOWN THE HIGHWAY!!

This increased use of photo radar would slow people down and likely provide a huge increase of revenue to the province / city by the speeders who refuse to slow down. And finally, instead of simply increasing a person's drivers license cost or insurance cost, maybe the province should go back to the days when a constant speeder had their license suspended for a period of time!!!

There needs to be some changes to how this province deals with high speed drivers!!!

- Submitted by Court S.

When we spent a month in Australia in 2016 we rented a car and toured the areas from Sydney to Adelaide.  Beautiful country, with beautiful roads AND automated speed enforcement.   Driving from Melbourne down to Philip Island to watch the races was an enlightening experience.  Picture a freeway of 4 - 8 lanes in places with moderately heavy traffic.  The posted limit was 100 km/hr.  In BC about 5% of drivers would be even close to the limit, with about 90% at least 20 km/hr over the limit.  In Australia 95% of the drivers were travelling at the limit or under!!!  It was a wonderful relaxing drive, especially as I was still on the 'wrong' side of the road.

I rarely saw a police vehicle on the road, about once every couple of days.  So why do drivers behave so well?  the automated cameras are in action, well advertised and no surprises.  Some areas actually sported a system that measured your actual time of travel over a 20 km stretch, so you couldn't slow for the cameras and go crazy the rest of the time.  I gather from conversations that the fines are quite substantial and ruthlessly enforced.  As a result, drivers can't afford to speed in these areas.  In the Outback areas the systems are not in place and drivers do go faster there, but anywhere close to the urban areas people behave.

Automated speed enforcement has much to offer us here, imo.  Leadfoots might reconsider their traffic behaviour if they got a monthly bill for a few hundred dollars.  It adds up.   I would also favour a system of escalating fines based on frequency of speeding tickets.  Failure to pay should result in seizure of the car and impoundment for a significant period of time.  For the really dedicated speeders the impoundment should be followed up with crushing the car and delivering the cube back to their front yard with a sign:  "Drive That".

Disrespect for the law is allowed to prosper in the absence of enforcement.