Q&A - Is the Current Traffic Enforcement System Working?

Q&A ImageI was driving North bound on Hwy 97 approaching Summerland.  As usual I was passed by a speeding vehicle (I confess, I'm a "speeder" but I confine my illegal activity to 10 kph over)  So when I say a speeder, I'm not describing someone going 12 kph over a limit, while I'm travellling 2 kph under.  In the appropriete conditions (dry, light traffic, day time) if I say I'm passed by a speeder, you can expect someone going 20 + over the posted limit, likely more.

Anyway nothing unusual.  The speeder arrives at the intersection of Hwy 97 and Prairie Valley Rd, for anyone familiar with the area, the top of the Summerland hill as you enter the main area of Summerland.

The driver arrives at the intersection enters the left turn lane to turn to travel West bound on Prairie Valley Rd.  The left turn lane at this location is controlled by a demand traffic light sequence.  There is a dedicated three phase traffic light for left turn vehicles, such that straight through North bound traffic may have a green, but a vehicle in the left turn lane may face a red.

I pull up behind the (former) speeder at the red left turn light.  There was absolutely no traffic in the area, not stopped waiting to cross Hwy 97, nor approaching from the North or South, just the two of us.  The speeding had already demonstrated that he didn't mind comitting a violation within my view.

The driver remained stopped at the red light.  Many of you are saying "yes, so, and your point is....?"

Well, for whatever reason this driver sped North bound, risking a fine and a 3 point ticket, but arriving at a red traffic light chose to obey the light even though he risked a lessor fine and only 2 point ticket for the light.  Why ?

Is it the mentality that it is legal to travel along a roadway and it is a graduating scale ?  So because it's legal to travel 90 kph (the speed limit in that area), it's sorta OK to go 110 kph, or 120, BUT, it's not legal to disobey a red traffic light at any speed ? 

If someone was told not to drink any water in a glass on a table, would that restriction be obeyed more consistantly than if someone was told they could drink water from the glass but to a maximum of half the glass of water.  Would they be more likely to  drink 3/4's of it, all of it ?

Is it fear of detection ?   I'm driving along at 30 kph over the limit, that perhaps isn't as obvious as driving through a red light ?   Or, I could argue I wasn't going that fast I thought I was only going a little over.  "everyone does it".  But the red light is (no joke intended) "black & white"

Are the tactics our police use to enforcement laws getting the results we need ?   Deserve ?

What if there was no way to know where the police were monitoring speeds, disguised vehicles, (all sorts), equipped with multiple recording devices, legislation changing the definition of "owner".

We all see the aggresive driver, tailgating, bullying his/her way through traffic, dangerous passing, high speeds.

The nicest least frusterating vehicle to drive that doesn't get tailgated or passed dangerously is a marked police vehicle.

Is the police vehicle sitting at the side of the roadway a reliable way of assessing the driving behavious of one of these road bullys ?  In the preceeding minutes the violator may have tailgated, passed dangeriously, sped, then, only if unlucky, gets a speeding ticket and unless he/she was over 40 kph the limit will get the same penalty as another driver going 11, 12, kph over, who is not a road bully.

Another suggestion...  for those chronic locations where speeding is continual no matter how many times police set up speed checks.  Permanent photo radar.  School zones especially.



There is no other solution.Too many bad drivers for the number of highway officers to possibly adress.Speed camera technology will reduce the number of crashes, injuries and deaths and reduce ICBC claim costs.

Speed Cameras

I'm am not an advocate of speed cameras except in permanent locations to actually slow drivers down at a specific location, cronic or sensitive, such as schools and playgrounds.  I say put up large signs "Speed Camera Enforcement Ahead"

The mobile camera enforcement vehicle that targets the "driving bully" or "multi offense, high risk offender", I think is the way to go.

It must be coupled with a new definition and law regarding the definition of "owner".

The speed camera placed at various locations does nothing to change driving attitudes.  It's a revenue generator, violators are not subject to any remedial disipline since they are charge as the "owner", not the "driver".  No points accumlation, no follow-up.  In the case of company vehicles "ABC Company" is the violator.

Speed cameras also don't address the "driving bully" or "multi offense, high risk offender" (tailgating, prior to an unsafe lane change followed by speeding).

Speed cameras.

I'm am not an advocate of speed cameras except in permanent locations to actually slow drivers down at a specific location, chronic or sensitive, such as schools and playgrounds.  I say put up large signs "Speed Camera Enforcement Ahead"

We're on the same page, in that regard.

The first time I saw them being used was driving in the UK in 1995 (the 'Gatso' was introduced there three years earlier). They would be painted a neutral grey so as not to be obvious, the powers that be (or were, then) favouring the idea of sneaky speed enforcement that nobody would know about until the ticket arrived in the mail. (A similar strategy was employed over here of course, when the RCMP set up their radar cameras behind grey or beige minivans.)

At the time, many UK drivers hated them; it wasn't unusual to see newspaper reports about them being vandalized late at night when nobody was around, with red paint (or something similar) splashed over the lenses, sometimes with accompanying signs attached expressing the views of the miscreants who had been caught by them; I think it's a British characteristic to respect the police and law enforcement generally, but to have a deep mistrust of the authorities in general - particularly when they're hiding what they're up to, while reaching into people's wallets.

The laws were changed after 9 years of that deliberate subterfuge, which coincided with upgrades in technology from film to digital, and all the new Gatso cameras were painted bright yellow, and made larger so that people would see them. Imagine! You would think the authorities were now using them to slow down traffic, or something ...

Continuing with the UK example, it's important to note how and where they were employed, typically.

For instance, the various approaches to Heathrow Airport - both Motorways and A-Roads. And just like you see people racing to catch a BC Ferry in this part of the world, people will try to race to Heathrow to catch their flight. Compounding the problem, perhaps, is that while there's a general rule and discipline in place in the UK vis a vis slower traffic keeping left, the stop-and-go approaches to Heathrow, combined with massive traffic volume, have negated that for decades.

So to try and reduce the number of fender benders, the various local authorities did two things - they reduced the maximum speed incrementally throughout the approaches (70 mph, 60 mph, 50 mph, 40 mph, 30 mph - each with a prominent warning of the newer, lower speed limit ahead) while putting up big signs warning of the Gatso cameras ahead in each case.

I think it worked, and works to this day. What's the point in tailgating, or switching lanes repeatedly, to get ahead - if it's only going to get you a speeding ticket in the mail?

Apart from Heathrow, numerous villages around the UK - where, typically, the A-Road speed limit of 60 mph gets slashed to 30 mph through that built up area, Gatso type cameras have been effective in reducing both the 4-wheelers and the thunderous juggernauts (as they call them - 35-ton truck/trailer units, often from other European countries) from belting through without significantly reducing their speed.

Once they get to the other end of town, they simply get presented with an 'End of Speed Limit' sign, and can carry on picking up gears from there, until the next one.

new approach to road safety

Yes -some will speed up to make up lost time doing the speed limt. This is where drones can be used. Once again, I suggest that the highways and roads posted with signage "SPEED monitored by AIRCRAFT" and post speed penalties.

I would also recommend increased IRU road campaigns to target impaired drivers, distracted drivers and those who do not wear seat belts or are driving while suspended.

For those of us who may need a more gentle reminder of road safety., there is a need for constant advertising on the 3 major causes of crashes injuries and deaths.


According to ICBC, speeding between 1-20 km/hr gets you a lower fine than 21 - 40 km/hr, so not quite the same if your 30 over or 11 - 12 over, and that also increases from 1 - 20 over and so on in a School & Playground zone where fine start higher.

I always find it odd that the vast majority of drivers seem to believe that it's somehow OK that they only speed & break the law by 10 km/hr over, especially when speeding is the LEAD CAUSE of crashes according to ICBC, and an automatic FAIL on a road exam that gets one the privilege to drive in the first place.

That is why I would like to see speed over distance cameras and add points, that way drivers would obey the speed law just as much as stopping for a red light, this would free up the amount of time police have to dedicate to catching speeders and free them up to concentrate on the other major causes of crashes like tailgaters,  aggressive driving & distracted driving for example, as I agree just sitting on the side of a road only catches a small percentage of the problems on our roads. And using GHOST vehicles is part of how the Autobahn has a lower crash rate, not knowing who are the police helps keep more drivers to conform to the law.Plus their driving bans are from a month to 3 months depending on your speed and starting at 31 km/hr being excessive in town, much better in my opinion than 7 days here.

speed cameras

Exactltly the right approach.Let drivers know that their speed is being measured and monitored in critical areas such as school zones, high crash intersectioss and roads Post Large signs to advertise the speed limt, speed cameras and the penalties.

This is a vastly different approach than photo radar in the NDP days and the present Government needs a better approach to road safety.


Other thoughts, make of them what you will!

The driver arrives at the intersection enters the left turn lane to turn to travel West bound on Prairie Valley Rd.  The left turn lane at this location is controlled by a demand traffic light sequence.  There is a dedicated three phase traffic light for left turn vehicles, such that straight through North bound traffic may have a green, but a vehicle in the left turn lane may face a red.

I pull up behind the (former) speeder at the red left turn light.  There was absolutely no traffic in the area, not stopped waiting to cross Hwy 97, nor approaching from the North or South, just the two of us.  The speeding had already demonstrated that he didn't mind comitting a violation within my view.

The driver remained stopped at the red light.  Many of you are saying "yes, so, and your point is....?"

Well, for whatever reason this driver sped North bound, risking a fine and a 3 point ticket, but arriving at a red traffic light chose to obey the light even though he risked a lessor fine and only 2 point ticket for the light.  Why ?

You raise some interesting points, there.

I would suggest that factors such as social acceptability is one of them - consider how impaired driving, and seatbelt usage - have been vastly reduced or enhanced (as appropriate) in this province over the time we've both been driving. Fundamental changes for the better, in my humble opinion.

I'm a driver who will cheerfully stop at a mid-block pedestrian crosswalk when the light has turned red; then after the peds have left, continue through. But other drivers who had stopped there don't, until the light starts flashing green.

At the intersection of major highways - there are a number of these in the general area where I drive, as the #1 runs through the lower mainland - I'll oftentimes turn left into a freeway entrance ramp against the red (after stopping and properly yielding of course, just as you would when turning right on a red) but I don't see anyone else doing that.

I don't think the fines/demerit points have much to do with it. You and I and a few others might be aware of the potential penalties and dangers, but we're not the majority by any means. Drivers float through (sometimes zip through) right turns against a red all the time - usually checking left for vehicles that might hit them, without thinking of pedestrians from the right that they might run into - they just pick up on the behaviour of others.

This is an interesting discussion point, and I wouldn't want to dominate it.

But I do think that evident policing of traffic behaivour will have a significant affect; much more than hidden devices.

Oh, another nuther thought - school zones and playgroud zones are typically created by municipal governments. Sometimes they're appropriate, other times they're goofy. It's like Strata Councils. 

But I wouldn't ever expect them to go beyond the erection of signage, to setting up expensive electronic speed enforcement. No judgment there, just an observation.

High visibility of police

Actually, Competant, I believe the current philosophy for policing traffic in BC (and likely the rest of Canada) is exactly that.  "High visibility", the sight of a marked police vehicle stopped at the side of the roadway, obviously issuing a violator a ticket, reminds others to obey traffic laws.

HOWEVER, as has been said time and time again in this forum, the lack of numbers of police has been a problem.  So, if there are a very few police out on our roadways doing traffic enforcement work, where is the reminder ?

I'm not suggesting that every traffic member be given a Rent a Wreck with a canoe on the roof and Saskatchewan plates to surreptitiously hunt traffic violators.  I think this should only form a part of the enforcement program, to especially address the "road bully".

It would certainly get the attention of the public and would completely remove the ability to only obey the laws when police are present.

May the Force be with us. Or like that ...

I hear you. I also (perhaps conradictorally if that's a word) think it's more important than ever for police to unobtrusively monitor traffic in a planned, strategic, active manner, whatever other methods are being employed. And that has nothing to do with hiding in the bushes with radar guns!

So alright, going back to the question asked in the title of this thread. I had a YouTube video posted, but I'm still getting my head around how to generate and post these things so sorry that it is not available.

What would see is a small gaggle of taxis (two yellow cabs and a black cab) on Granville Street, southbound to the airport. Keeping in mind that we never really notice the good drivers out there - only the bad ones - and also considering my previous comments about maintaining space and visibility, my vehicle is probably peaking at 60 km/h in this 50 km/h zone; that's how I've driven that stretch of roadway for the last four decades, pretty much. Despite my soft acceleration (my van is a pig when it comes to fuel consumption) compared to their frenzied behaviour, my space cushion is huge, so far as that's achievable, which is why you don't see anybody zipping by me except those guys.

Meanwhile, we see the driving style displayed by those guys. Professional drivers - supposedly.

Yet they're running the curb lane where space and visibility is most compromised, in the belief that every passing move actually gets them ahead (wrong). Tailgating all the time (wrong and illegal). Switching lanes without signalling, sometimes (totally illegal, also - along with tailgating - a leading cause of road rage according to police reports).

And this is just a couple of minutes or so on a quiet afternoon on south Granville; yet it goes on all day, and every day, and way worse. Accidents trying to find a place to happen; and most of them - hell, pretty much all of them - with several interactive devices on their dashboards along with Bluetooth headphones on their pointy little heads.

Meanwhile, the Vancouver police do, uh, police Granville Street at times. They set up radar! Often enough, using unmarked SUV type vehicles, on a sidestreet, just out of sight. When they pull somebody over, they use a clever trick of placing their vehicle to the extreme left of the right hand lane, but angled sharply right (with the front wheels pointed at, and against the curb) to protect themselves - understandable enough!

But do they ever cruise in those unmarked vehicles, pulling over tailgaters, non-signallers, and other anti-social road bandits? Not that I've ever noticed ... and I'm a guy who actually sees what's going on; it's my job.


Your video is marked private.


I think I've got that fixed. Computers! They'll never catch on, you know ...

Put yourself in the shoes of a traffic cop

Competent, you ask the question: "..But do they (VPD) ever cruise in those unmarked vehicles, pulling over tailgaters.....?"

For starters we have to accept that "unmarked" police vehicles are fairly obvious as police cars.  They are not disguised, they are generally the same make and model as the marked police vehicles, without the paint job, lights and decals.  The average violator, can pick them out a large percentage of the time.  (thus my suggestion of the disguised multi camera vehicle)

Then if the violator is observed cutting in and out, speeding, likely the vast majority of chances the traffic member has to observe is from behind.  Again the average violator, passing by an unmarked police vehicle, is really going to clue in he is beside an unmarked police car.

So we now have the violator ahead of the police car cutting in and out, passing slower vehicles.  Now the police vehicle has to observe the violations and somehow get through the same traffic being passed to continue observations and to be close enough to pull the violator over.

The police car is basically creating some of the same hazards that the violator is.  Compare that to a speed monitoring set up, one member observing and calling via radio to other members to safely pull over each violator.  More numbers, safer, but only getting speeders and not necessarily drivers who have been tailgating, not signalling, cutting in and out AND speeding.

You and I driving our family type vehicle, are obviously not a police vehicle, we see the violator approaching from our rear, passing us.  We observe their actions as they leave us in their "dust".

We think, "were are cops when you need one", but if our place in that traffic was not us but an unmarked traffic car, the violator would likely spot the vehicle as a police car as they approached.

In other words the observation part of the equation, is a lot easier for you and I in our vehicle, and after we've observied the driving, IF we were the police we would then have to get through that same traffic to pull the violator over.

Thus, changing the definition of "owner" so the disguised traffic monitoring vehicle wouldn't have to try to pull over the violator to ID the driver, and the use of a completely disguised vehicle for monitoring the violator all avoid enforcement problems created by the current method of traffic enforcement.

Fair point.

But properly unmarked police vehicles are out there - the Vancouver Police may not have them (those SUV's I mentioned have darkened glass to hide the red and blues, but still have those silly wheel covers and antennas that give them away) but the West Vancouver Police sure have this issue addressed; their SUV's look like a genuine family vehicle until they light them up. Heck, they've been known to use a pickup truck with an 'N' slapped on the tailgate to catch miscreants!

One thing that's very obvious to me, from the viewpoint of the driver's seat in my vehicle, is how many drivers are holding - and using - mobile phones while they're driving. Out of sight to most, but not from a tall vehicle. Oftentimes, texting while maneuvering through tight traffic, just on the cusp of triggering disaster. I genuinely believe that the enormity of this dangererous behaviour, as a root cause of crashes, hasn't yet been understood - it certainly hasn't been sufficiently addressed, despite all the fanfare about increased fines and tickets, etc.

From time to time, here in the lower mainland, ICBC have tried traffic corridor enforcement initiatives, where they provide police forces with direct funding to get out there and issue tickets in high volume, high crash areas. Invariably, the local police forces will make these solemn announcements about how they're going to be actively involved - and the first thing they mention? Speeding.

Where do the majority of collisions occur? At, or approaching, intersections. Speeding may be a factor, but it isn't the primary one!

And so it goes.

Going back to the original question, again what I think would work effectively is this: ICBC should purchase or lease a bunch of those Mercedes Sprinter white vans, with sliding doors and blacked out glass. Equip them with GoPro type cameras, angled to look into and record the behaviour of drivers in other adjacent vehicles, as well as lights and sirens of course. Plus two or three uniformed cops, inside.

At every red light, the cops jump out, and order the miscreants who they observed using their mobile phones to pull over in the next block after the light releases them to move.

Ticket, after ticket, after ticket. Plus the bonus of tagging all the Class 7 drivers failing to display their L or N, as well as those who actually don't have a valid license - currently, they're only catching around 13,000 a year (presumably when they're pulled over for a different driving offence). And don't talk to me about costs, or expenses! If the fine revenue isn't sufficient to pay for all of this, then there's something fundamentaly flawed with the whole system.

Thank you I feel much better, now.

It's not rare for me to

It's not rare for me to follow a driver who is travelling the speed limit and seemingly trying to be a safe driver, only to run the yellow light.  Weirdly they don't seem to be in a hurry and I can't believe they all aren't paying attention to the light.  It's just okay to go through it if it's just a little bit yellow.  Some drivers make strange decisions about which rules to respect and which to disregard.

Is the current traffic enforcement working

Part of this letter touches on a point I brought up when the highways were doing monitoring to see which sections of the highways would have an increase in speed. My point is there are many drivers like the poster here that will do 10K over the speed limit no matter what it is until they reach the speed they feel comfortable with for that section of highway. Then there are people like myself and the driver in question in this post that will drive at the speed they feel comfortable doing for road conditions, vehicle, and other factors that come in. 

So when they talk about the 85% to me it is misleading. For instance on this section of road the poster is talking about if the speed had been raised to 110 would the poster still do 120? And this is where the 85% falls apart. When you increase a road that can comfortable be traveled at 120K and you raise it from 90 to 100 you are going to still have the section of the driving public that are of the mindset that they will do 10K over. The same if it was raised to 110 there would still be that 85% that feel comfortable going 10K over. But if they were to have raised the speed to 120K would that 85% disappear as the majority feel that 120K for this section of road is the speed they want to travel? The Coq to me is an example of that. If I remember the figures correctly the majority of the public still travel at the same speed they did before the increase. Because people feel comfortable around that speed.

For a vast amount of the highways away from communities I feel very comfortable doing 120 but now that the Coq has been raised to 120 I no longer speed through that section of highway. I continue on in my comfort zone for the vehicle I normally drive on the highway.

On the other hand I am not a tailgater, I have observed the 3 sec rule for longer than it has been the recommended rule, I do not speed in school zones, playground zones, I do not text, come to a complete stop at all stop signs, signal all lane changes, when in heavy city traffic you will often find me traveling below the speed limit although if the traffic is light with limited access and pedestrian traffic, crosswalks I may go slightly over.

I am a strong supporter of DRL's and when it is raining, foggy or any inclement weather I am the one driving with full headlights on. In fact I wonder how many know that when you are traveling in the states that you maybe breaking a state law if you fail to turn on your full headlights when it is raining? If you have to turn on your windshield wipers you are required by law to turn on your headlights. A law which I would like to see implemented across Canada.

So no I do not feel that the current enforcement of MVA regulations in the province of B.C. are working. Your chances of being charged with anything other than speeding, and no seatbelts is piratically nil. Recently you can add in the use of cell phones in communities. On the open highway there again the chances of someone being charged is nil.

It bothers me to no end when I see our local police doing seatbelt checks and giving out tickets but never pull a vehicle over for having their DRL disconnected, burnt out lights or other visible infractions of the MVA. I know of people that have been charged with no seatbelts that have disconnected their DRL's and have other burnt out lights on their vehicle but don't even get a warning ticket to fix these items. As a friend of mine says, "Seatbelts save the lives of the person wearing them, DRL's and working taillights can prevent an accident from happening in the first place.

Watch "Canada's Worst Driver" and "Highway thru Hell", then ask yourself how did these people ever get a license in the first place and that also goes for the Class 1 drivers. When you look at the list of the safest place to drive in the world, many of them have speed limits that equal or are higher than what we have.

I have been driving close to 70 years accident free. I was taught by my Dad and was told from day 1 "there is no such thing as an accident, someone screwed up". Just because one obeys the speed limit which maybe the only law they obey 100% does not make them a safe driver.


Intelligent Post, eh?

Thanks for that one, you brought up a number of good points. 

speed cameras

Interesting that "Tom Tom" is advertsing an inventorty of 25,000 speed cameras in the US and Canada on their GPS. Technology may be the answer to managing excessive speed. With enough cameras on enough roads, there would no incentive to speed excessively.

Your idea is in use Phil

You keep mentioning the use of Drones for traffic control, well China, India & Russia are doing exactly that, thought you would like this :-)

You bring up a few points

Your statement "...the poster ...will do 10k over the limit no matter what... until they reach the speed they feel comfortable with.."  Is a bit ambiguous .   "will do 10k over no matter what" isn't the same as "until they reach a comfortable speed".

In my world, (not in school zones or playground zones, construction, etc) I will travel up to 10 k over the limit, if the conditions allow.  "Conditions" could be traffic, weather road  etc.

I find a lot of drivers who will travel along at 100, in a 100 zone, then the speed lowers to 70 and they will travel 90 to a 100 in the speed limit is down to 70 then down to 60 they will travel 90/100 then the limit goes back up to 90 and they will continue at 90.

I'm not talking about the yellow recommended lower speed for curves, I'm talking about lower limits when a highway enters a small town or residential/commercial area.

I haven't picked 10k out of the air.  I travel at that maximum speed because the RCMP will generally tolerate that speed.  One would think if they "allow" 10 k in a 50 zone, they would allow that same 20% in an 80 zone.  That is not the case.  I was in a car pulled over on the Coquihalla travelling 112 kph in a 100 zone, sunny day extremely light traffic. 

For those dianosaurs reading this, the RCMP will generally allow 68 miles an hour in a 62 mph zone, but not 70 mph.

But that is generally what happens.  I know it's not my "right" to travel 10kph over, but generally if conditions permit, nobody is going to bother me at that speed.

In doing so, I'm certainly not  passing many vehicles.  Likely passing fewer than pass me.

DRL or "Daytime Running Lights", are for some very strange reason not required on vehicles built for the US market.  Something I find VERY strange. 

I did a little research and most states have requirements to turn on headlights when the visibility is less than a certain distance.  I a only few states (contrary to James_O) they require headlight to be on when windshield wipers are in use.

When travelling on a highway, especially a non-divided highway I wouldn't dream travelling without eigher DRL or headlights on.

As for equipment shortfalls such as burnt out headlights etc.  I remember the day that the provincial government of the day ("Socred" now named "Liberal) ended the vehicle testing requirements in the lower mainland and Vancouver Island (and it's intended expansion to the province).

Ambiguity in response

Sorry, I will see if I can find my English teacher that threatened to fail me in Grade 10 English unless I improved my punctuation and sentence structure so that I removed some ambiguity in my writings. I do apologize for the confusion.

That said I will not bother to comment on driving 10K over the posted limit. I will try to clarify my statement regarding driving in the United States of America. What I actually wrote was:

"I wonder how many know that when you are traveling in the states that you maybe breaking a state law if you fail to turn on your full headlights when it is raining." Now I do know this is ambiguous as I did not set a definite number of states. I actually deliberately left this open for this very reason, I had not researched my subject other than I know that certain states do require headlights and wipers to be turned on at the same time.

So to the best of my ability doing a search this afternoon I have found that currently 22 states require headlights to be turned on when the wipers are activated. I would also like to clarify that I found no mention in any of these jurisdictions that if one is using the windshield washers to clean the windshield for a requirement of the headlights to also be activated.  I point that out to remove any ambiguity in my statement. Also the state of Alaska requires headlights to be used at all times on highways that are posted as such. 

When traveling in the following states if you turn on your wipers remember to hit the headlight switch. And remember as the United States of America does not require DRL's these are not sufficient in the following states. Now if you have an European vehicle that activates all lights when the DRL's come on you maybe able to get by with that but that is up to you. States that definitely require lights on with windshield wipers. Arkansas, California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee.

Then you have the following states that require the use of headlights when it is snowing, raining, sleeting, hailing, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia.

Washington and Hawaii go with a more ambiguous regulation requiring the use of headlights during periods of low visibility. Now the states not mentioned in either of these lists often require the use of headlights when the visibility is below either 304.8 metres (1,000 feet) or 152.4 metres (500 feet) 

Laws are being upgraded on a regular basis in individual states. One may want to err on the side of safety and use headlights in all states when raining, snowing, sleeting, hailing. One problem the individual states have and it is why the use of headlights and wipers are being connected is because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration although it admits that DRL's would reduce more accidents than the high mounted brake light that NHTSA has mandated will not do so.

Here is what Alaska has to say regarding headlights usage during daylight hours.


Sorry for having to put in the link but apparently this site does not allow pasting. The section I am referring to in the above link is where it states "Why use headlights in Alaska?"

I said I was not going to comment on the 10K but I do feel a little history is needed. Prior to Canada going metric it was a basic thought that the cops would not fine you if you were going 10 MPH or  under above the speed limit. When Canada switched to metric (SI) this 10 rule in the minds of Canadians carried over. Which really does not make any sense. To give one the same break it would have to be 16K. over the posted speed limit. Now if you believe in going in jumps of 10 that 16 gets rounded to 20. But it all comes down to the individual Officer. You can be charged if you are going 1 kilometre over the limit.

Long post and a lot of reading but as my post was ambiguous especially regarding the use of headlights and windshield wipers in the United States I felt I had to post a clarification on what I was trying to say.

A little sensative to criticism ? I wasn't attempting to flame.

I genuinely found your statement contradictory to itself.

I wanted to clarify and dispute that "the poster here that will do 10k over the speed limit no matter what it is", but you went on to say, "until they reach the speed they feel comfortable with for that section of highway", which is pretty accurate.

So do I take "issue" with: "no matter what" (no consideration)

Or agree with: "until... they feel comfortable" (consideration for the highway at that point)

Sorry, but in my world that's a bit ambiguous.

In re-reading I think I get it.  In other words at what limit are people going to not want to go faster than the limit.  250kph ? (nope someone would go over that too)

As for the 10kph "tolerance" and history.  I don't know why 10 is used at least by the RCMP in the Okanagan, where I live.  It's a nice round number, perhaps.

You see a tolerance of much more in certain locations.

When the measurement of speed changed from mph to kph there was a period of adjustment.  I know because I was there.

I can't comment on the RCMP practices, but can about the VPD (Vancouver Police)

The Traffic Section generally allowed 10mph over the blanket limit in the majority of Vancouver of 30mph.  So the slowest you would get a speeding ticket in a 30 mph zone in Vancouver was 41mph.  Well unless perhaps you talked yourself into a lower one.

When the limit was changed to 50kph, the 10mph tolerance was converted over to 15kph and in Vancouver the slowest you would get a speeding ticket in a 50kph zone at that time was 66kph.

That was Traffic Division, Patrol Division (the RCMP call it "General Duty"), likely 70, 75kph if they bothered at all.  Rush hour, S/B on South Granville lilely 75 or more.

Don't know what Vancouver does now, but in RCMP land it seems 10kph over for any speed limit can get attention.  (I'm not talking School, Playground or Construction zones) Again, Traffic members, municipal or RCMP pay more attention to traffic violations, because that why they are there.


new ideas for ICBC

I'm hoping that the BCUC will turn down ICBC's request for a 4.9 % rate increase for basic auto insurance. I'm hoping that the Commission will recognize that ICBC needs to invest more in accident prevention, than raising rates to combat rising crashes and claims.

I'm hoping that the Commission will recommend that ICBC invest more in IRU radar campaigns and new technologies such as drones to reduce crashes, injuries and costs. 


Interesting concept

Do you really think that an insurance company should be forced to invest more in "accident prevention" (paying police overtime to enforce traffic laws) before they are allowed to raise rates because of loss ratio ?

Should we prevent property insurance companys (household type insurance) from increasing their premiums until they pay police overtime to investigate burglaries ?

Also, if an insured crashes their vehicle and the police investigate and determine that the appropriate action is a ticket for Driving Without Due Care and Attention plus an Immediate Roadside Prohibition, instead of charging under the Criminal Code with Over 08 or Impaired Driving (we see reports of this all the time in the media).  The financial difference to ICBC can be phenominal.

If instead of the Motor Vehicle Act ticket, a criminal conviction resulted, ICBC would not have to pay the loss to the insured for the damaged vehicle and could collect back any payments for any property damage or injuries from the liable driver.  Not to mention more revenue for ICBC from the Driver Risk Premium program.

Should ICBC, perhaps, have some sort of "bounty" or reward program when criminal charges are laid involving an ICBC claim ?... or....the traffic member with the most tickets each week wins a barbecue ?

It is general practice of many insurance companies to enact information programs to encourage safety to try to reduce claims.  However ICBC has been allowed to go an extra step (rightly, or in my opinion, wrongly) by paying police overtime to catch violators, all under the guise that such "enhanced" enforcement will "increase safety" and decrease "crime".

I don't think they openly admit that their investment in police overtime directly correlates to financial claims savings.

In the rest of the civilized world, insurance companies are prevented from raising rates if they don't have a reliable insurance fraud prevention program, preventing insurance fraud, being an actual function of insurance companies.

It's generally expected that police have or should have enough of their own resources to properly execute their job without financial assistance from a non-arms length "partner".

I've used the example before,,,, how would you like it, if your local auto windshield shop paid police overtime to write tickets to motorists driving vehicles with cracked windshields to increase their business/profit.

ICBC and new approaches

ICBC does invest in some campaigns, but not enough to make a difference. Who should invest in accdent prevention activities which are not keeping up with increasing numbers of high risk drivers on BC roads?

Who ?

The government.  They are the only ones who actually have the responsibility to do so.

The government has already demonstrated their willingness to change laws to curb certain undesirable driving activities.  If there is a shortfall in police resources to police traffic then invest in more police.

There must be an accepted ratio of registered vehicles to police resources in North America, if we are falling short rectify it.

IF there are too few police, having an insurance company pay for them to work overtime is not a long time solution.

what will work

What will work is consequences-wether more police or technology, to follow up on excessive speed. distracted and impaired drivers

Laws and penalties don't matter much unless communicated and enforced. 

Last week I was at the fast check out at a Quality Food store. A lady in front had a cart quite full and lottery tickets to check. I suggested she was bending the rules and she replied -yes and every body bends the rules -don't you?

I'm sure not shopping there if in a hurry, but the  car crash problem in BC seems to be based on the same attitiude that it is OK to bend the rules on excessive speed , distracted and impaired driving. The present policing approach just can't keep with the rule benders. The " me first" people

Yes, exactly

That was my point, in my initial (perhaps too long winded) post, creating this topic. 

"Why is it that a motorist will speed, risking a fine and 3 points (or more), but will stop at a red light and remain so, only risking a smaller fine and 2 points if they drove through ?"

What will work ?

More police doing exactly what they are doing now ? 

Stationary photo radar, disputed to be a cash cow, ineffective, catching only the inattentive, catching "one of's".

or.... a new program.

Would a means of identifying violators in such a way that it was impossible for the violator to "watch out for the police" work ?  ie, disguised video police vehicles.

I'm not suggesting we abandon the visible traffic enforcement we already have, we augment it.

Start out the program with a news segments ..... Camera crew in a marked police car, every vehicle around the marked police car obviously obeying traffic laws, then the camera crew in the disguised video police vehicle on the same stretch of road. 

Perhaps then an example of the video available for evidence, the fact that the violator could and would be charged with multiple offences.

Next compare that type of enforcement to police hiding, getting "one of''s" for speeding.  Compare police enforcing with two way radar (catching oncoming vehicles then U-Turning and pursuing [dangerous]).

As a follow-up, supply the media with the "violator of the week" a one minute segment highlighting the types of violators being apprehended that week.

Consider the public interest.  The talk on the street.  Hopefully even some "outrage".

Inovative, forward thinking, effective ?

I would also suggest the government re-introduce stationary photo radar at cronic speeding locations and areas with safety concerns such as school zones.  Instead of sporadic enforcment, photo radar permanently installed in those spots (why the heck not ?).

Insteady of "you should slow down in this school zone because you might get a ticket if you're unlucky" to.... "slow down because you WILL get a ticket, every time you speed through this zone".


Speeding, what are the thresholds for getting a ticket in BC?

If someone approaches me from behind, at a high rate of speed,  I get the heck out of his way, and let him keep going down the road.  If there are any speed traps ahead, he will get nailed, and I can toot my horn at him as I go by. 

I drive the Coquihalla and the Connector usually at least once a week both ways from Kamloops to Kelowna.

The speed limit is now 120km/h except for hwy 5A leading into Merritt at 110.  I used to do about 10 over when speed limit was lower, but now, maybe 5 over, so people don't creep up on me from behind. On Hwy 5A, people are going at 130+ in the 110zone and that stretch is heavily patrolled with speed traps. As I drop 10km on that stretch, people are always passing me at a greater frequency. I think people look at risk of getting caught when they are speeding.   And some people just don't seem to care.

In BC, all I can find is  Speeding is 3 points, and  40 km/h over the limit is vehicle impounded.  In BC, if you are over 3 points for a year, you also get the ICBC fines, which are much higher than the ticket fine.

So theoretically, and tell me if I am wrong about this, the cops could give you a ticket for 1km/h over the limit and  you have 3 points on your licence.

I assume that you won't get a ticket here for speeding if you keep it at 10 or less above the limit, and haven't gotten a highway ticket for traveling at 10 over, but am I wrong about this?

I am originally from Ontario, and moved out here about 15 years ago now.  Ontario has a graduated points system for speeding.

less than 15 km/h above the limit,  no points,  

15 to 29 km/h  above the limit, 3 points,

30 -49 km/h  4 points and a 30 day suspension + 100% Insurance increase,  and it keeps getting higher.

As you can see, although you can get a ticket for minor speeding offenses, they are concentrating on the higher speed offenses with some pretty nasty fines and penalties.

Photo Radar is seen as a revenue maker, and that's why people in BC and Ontario were so upset about it's use. It's still used in Alberta and Saskatchewan, but their taxes are lower, I guess they had to make up the difference. I remember in Ontario when they had the photo radar vans there.  Few complained when the threshold was 20 over, then it dropped to 15 over, then again to 10 over, and finally 5 over the limit, and drivers went ballistic, especially when they were getting tagged on downhill grades. The public outcry was so intense, photo radar was mothballed.


My answers are best guesses, certainly not 'official' ...

So theoretically, and tell me if I am wrong about this, the cops could give you a ticket for 1km/h over the limit and  you have 3 points on your licence.

Yes, theoretically. But I think the inevitable consequence would be huge numbers of drivers contesting the tickets in court, wasting massive amounts of police time, and - in all likelihood - beating the tickets on the basis of speedometer error or radar error; because none of these devices is perfect.

So it's understandable that police officers choose to show some discretion, just as they would if a driver almost stopped at a Stop sign, but never quite became stationary, having determined that it was safe to continue.

In BC, all I can find is  Speeding is 3 points, and  40 km/h over the limit is vehicle impounded.  In BC, if you are over 3 points for a year, you also get the ICBC fines, which are much higher than the ticket fine.

It's interesting just to see what they do target, in terms of overall number of tickets issued as well as how they stack up, percentage-wise. Driver Penalty Point Premium information is on the ICBC site, here. If you want to know what all you can be ticketed for, it's all listed in Division 28 of the MVA Regs, here. You may be surprised at the possibilities! I've always found that extensive listing useful as a reference when trying to locate which Section applies to the various offences, it's almost like an index to the Motor Vehicle Act itself.

I assume that you won't get a ticket here for speeding if you keep it at 10 or less above the limit, and haven't gotten a highway ticket for traveling at 10 over, but am I wrong about this?

Well in the literal (legal) sense, every road is a highway. But let's face it, 10 km/h over in a 30 km/h School Zone is exceeding the limit by 33.33% which is mega compared to 10 km/h over in a 120 km/h zone, when you're 'only' exceeding the limit by 8.33%. 

With reference to the title of this Thread, I don't think the current Traffic Enforcement System is working; and, not to be misunderstood, I don't think there will ever be a time when all drivers, all of the time, absolutely obey every single traffic law - they could employ a million drones, ten million cameras, and it still won't force every driver to behave perfectly. Not even the cops!

But I also think the zealous application of radar, while almost ignoring the vast majority of offences such as tail-gating and dangerous lane-changing, is a clear indication that the system is not working, and for this I blame the police in large part. They choose what to target, and what to turn a blind eye to.

Yesterday, while waiting to complete a right turn on a stale green light - the pedestrian 'Don't Walk' countdown had gone from 12 to 3 for heaven's sake - a young woman pushing a baby buggy deliberately and intentionally speeded up and ran down the sidewalk and into the crosswalk in front of me. But when is the last time that any of us saw a police officer ticketing this anti-social, illegal, dangerous behaviour? Yeah, like 1975 or something! Which is why it has become commonplace, instead of unusal.

I've said it before, I'll say it again. If you're not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem. Even if it's errors of ommission rather than commision. And that goes for the cops, just like anybody else.

Pretty much dead on Competent, except the reason

As the title states, "Is the current Traffic Enforcement System Working".

Not, "are police working".

The tools available to our police are, obviously, what they use and if those tools aren't consistent with the types of violation apprehensions that are meaningful, the system is wrong.

To support police management's philosophy of "high visability", the majority of Traffic Enforcement vehicles (tools) are marked.

If you had ever driven a marked police vehicle you find it a real pleasure, you are NOT tailgated, when you are in the passing lane, passing a slower vehicle a much faster vehicle does NOT come up on you and bully you, and then cut in front of the passed vehicle before you can pull into the right lane and then cut in front of you.

What they do have is radar (ya I know, laser).  With that tool they generally detect speeders either being stopped at the side of the road as the speeder approaches or coming at the police vehicle.

The multiple violation behaviour that we as motorists (and traffic cops, on their way home from work in their private vehicle) see is not as easy to observe in a marked police vehicle and even the unmarked police vehicles are pretty easy to detect for the alert violator.

So it's the system of how our police are equipped to enforce traffic laws that doesn't afford many following too closely, unsafe lane change, multiple offense tickets.

When police numbers on the street are down (for all sorts of reasons) a philosophy of "high visability" is assinine, ya can't be visable if you're not there.

My suggestion of utilizing vehicles that are unidentifyable as police vehicles equipped with multiple evidence gathering cameras would address two problems.

1) First we have to make the public aware of the program.  The cronic violator can't rely on a electronic detector and can't watch out for the usual unmarked police traffic car.  So if you see the marked police vehicle you know they are there, when you don't, you don't know if they are there or not.

2) The unidentifyable vehicles will be a great tool for gathering evidence against the serious traffic offender, not the inattentive (to their speed) driver, driving down an incline at 12 kph over the limit.

For the areas of cronic speeding such as school zones or speed reduction areas such as when a higher speed limit section of roadway enters a town with a lower limit.  Permanent photo radar, with signage.

Neither of these two programs would impact on staffing numbers, and likely funding could be obtained from government or ICBC.


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