Setting a Bad Example for Others

Exclamation Mark SignIt's not nice to take vicarious pleasure from the troubles of other drivers, but sometimes I can't help myself. Yesterday I found myself #3 in line waiting for a red light to turn green at an intersection. The vehicle in front of me was a shiny Porsche Boxster convertible driven by a mature male. The light turned green and he stalled it. By the time he had started it again the light had turned red and we all ended up waiting for the next cycle. 

Most of us have probably done the same thing at some time in our motoring career and I kept my smile for myself lest I tempt Murphy and end up being an example myself.

The performance that came after the stall once my attention was focused on him was remarkable, and I'm going to do just that.

After the restart, he moved the front of his vehicle to the far side of the crosswalk to await the next green light. This is bad form for two reasons: it can put his vehicle past the inductive pickup controlling the signal and it makes life difficult for pedestrians if any are present.

In this case I drove over the loop and there were no pedestrians. Problem solved.

A long tractor-trailer combination was in the intersection waiting patiently to turn left ahead of us. The driver was unable to proceed until the signal turned green for us. He began his turn and Mr. Boxster just could not wait. He looped out to the right and drove around the back of the trailer to make his left turn rather than wait.

Believe it or not, he could have been written a ticket for green light at intersection for this behaviour.

My final observation of this driver was his dust as he rapidly disappeared from view while I trailed along behind having waited for the truck to turn and followed the posted speed limit.

The only challenge to this performance was a driver who decided to stop for a hitch hiker. The stop was a sudden one, made at 45 degrees across an acceleration lane about half way along it's length. Fortunately no one was following this driver too closely. Now the acceleration lane was blocked while everyone loaded luggage and passenger.

This should not have happened for more than one reason. This section of highway is a freeway (schedule 1 highway) and stopping to pick up hitch hikers is illegal. It is also forbidden to be a pedestrian here unless you are attending to a broken down vehicle.

Are you surprised that our vehicle insurance rates are as high as they are?


Not surprised one bit

My question is how many police officers would have ticketed for these infractions? From my observations over several years is few if any. So I am back at my old complaint the only thing one gets a ticket for is speeding, failure to wear a seat and over the last few years use of a cell phone. Have to problem if distracted driving is for texting otherwise it is the same old same old.

If we want to reduce accidents it is time that all regulations of the motor vehicle act be enforced. And a recent pet peeve is "Keep Right except to Pass". Would police officers which should be setting an example move over to the right lane rather than cruising down the highway in the left. I know why they are driving in the left lane but it comes down to the same thing. Laws are meant for all of us and unless that police vehicle has activated its emergency equipment it should obey the rules of the road.

Cops, and so on ...

My question is how many police officers would have ticketed for these infractions? From my observations over several years is few if any.

You're probably right about that; for more complete information on what they're actually prioritizing (which, given the number of infractions going on, they have to do) you should look elsewhere on this site.

If we want to reduce accidents it is time that all regulations of the motor vehicle act be enforced. And a recent pet peeve is "Keep Right except to Pass". Would police officers which should be setting an example move over to the right lane rather than cruising down the highway in the left.

That observation surprises me, quite honestly.

Not that you don't see cops breaking the rules sometimes; just the other week I watched a Burnaby RCMP officer make a horrible left turn from Willingdon into Lougheed (no signal, drifted into the right lane as he straightened up, then - with no traffic flow around to justify it - drove along at least 10 km/h over the limit) but ... not once since the new rules came in have I seen a cop camping out in the left lane on the highway.

And I'm out there all the time, driving is what I do with my day, pretty much.

What You Don't Know About Red Light Cameras

Your description of Mr. Boxster and the driver who stopped to pick up a hitchhiker is fairly typical on the roads and highways of Metro Vancouver.

I live in Surrey and limit my driving in Metro Vancouver due to the aggressive and/or dangerous driving habits of a growing number of drivers.

These drivers are embolden because there is little enforcement, likely because the local RCMP are focused on trying to control the gang shootings.

In today’s Province newspaper, columnist Mike Smyth revealed that intersection cameras operate for only 6 hours in a 24 hour day. Ridiculous!

The bombshell report on ICBC’s financial crisis contains a long list of suggestions to avoid the massive rate hikes now looming for B.C. drivers.

Here’s one idea, buried on page 101 of the report: Operate the province’s existing red-light intersection cameras all day long, instead of just six hours a day.

What’s that? You didn’t know the 140 cameras, currently deployed at the province’s most accident-prone intersections, only catch red-light-running drivers for 25 per cent of the day?

It’s true. For the other 18 hours of each day, reckless drivers run red lights with no fear of the automatic cameras snapping a picture of their licence plates and sending them a $167 ticket in the mail.

Why the heck are the cameras not switched on 24 hours a day? The answer is one of those classic examples of government incompetence.

It goes back to 1999, when the cameras were first installed. Back then, the cameras used rolls of film that had to be removed and developed in a darkroom.

There was only enough film in each camera to capture about six hours’ worth of traffic each day before someone had to come along with a ladder, remove the exposed film and install a new roll.

When ICBC moved to digital cameras in 2011, the corporation decided in its wisdom to program the new cameras to operate for only six hours a day. Why? Because they didn’t want to anger the public by suddenly quadrupling the cameras’ ticket-issuing capacity.

This is ridiculous. If a driver runs a red light through a dangerous intersection, they are a threat to public safety, no matter what time of day they decide to break the law.

It’s a no-brainer: Switch the cameras on for 24 hours a day. It should have been done six years ago.

It’s these types of idiotic policy decisions that have contributed to ICBC’s financial mess. The insurance corporation has a deficit of more than $800 million and drivers’ premiums could soar 30 per cent in the next two years as a result.

By the way, those digital cameras are also capable of measuring vehicle speed, in addition to detecting red-light infractions.

The new NDP government will now be under pressure to start hitting dangerous drivers with intersection speeding infractions using the camera technology.

You can bet the opposition Liberals will call it a brazen cash grab if the NDP does take action against dangerous drivers.

The Liberals will remind people it was the NDP government of the 1990s that gouged drivers with photo-radar tickets.

But keep this in mind as you listen to the politicians fuss and fight: Photo-radar in the 1990s was a rip-off based on expensive, outmoded technology.

Back then, the government paid police officers to sit in unmarked vans by the road taking photos of speeding cars.

The photo-radar vans often set up at the bottom of hills or in speed-limit interchange zones. They were mobile speed traps and it was completely unfair, not to mention a waste of police resources.

The digital intersection cameras could be easily programmed with a few clicks of a computer mouse to capture red-light-running and speeding drivers at high-fatality intersections — without tying up police resources.

The ticket revenue could be used to reduce the insurance premiums of safe drivers. It’s the right thing to do. And if the Liberals oppose it as a cash grab, they should be ashamed of themselves.

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