We often see serious collisions reported in the news where the offending driver was only issued a traffic ticket for the violation that caused it. Public sentiment often conveys the wish that the driver should have been charged criminally for what they have done. One yardstick for considering a criminal charge instead of a traffic ticket is whether the offending driver showed "a marked departure from the standard of care which a reasonable person would have exercised in the same circumstances."
The C.F.S.E.U. was in the news this week, probably not in the way they would have liked. You may have seen the dash cam videos from Richmond showing a number of vehicles apparently brazenly running red lights. The story hit the news amid amazed comments about how bad drivers were becoming in the Lower Mainland.
I've written before about the three Es of road safety, education, engineering and enforcement. The enforcement component was the subject of a comment to me concerning a visible police presence on our highways. The observation was that unmarked cars and what seems like minimal enforcement creates a "I can get away with it" mindset.
"The officer wasn't even there! How can they issue a ticket to me based only on the word of the other driver?" A question similar to this one is posed to me fairly often and people seem to be completely surprised that something like this could happen. It's possible, but the procedure is not that simple.
I had stopped a speeding driver and was serving a copy of the violation ticket to her when I noticed a pickup truck pull in behind my police vehicle. When the ticket recipient pulled away the male driver exited his pickup and approached me. "You can't write speeding tickets here." he stated.
On April 24, 2012 an employee of Dueck Downtown Chevrolet Buick GMC Limited left a pickup truck unlocked, unattended and idling with the keys in the ignition outside one of the dealership's detailing bays. It was stolen by David Bolton.