A reader asks: "If the posted speed limits on our roadways are not just suggestions, why are they not enforced? If we are permitted to drive above the posted limit, how far above, and if so, how is anyone ever cited for speeding?"
Speed Limits are Not Suggestions
Speed limits in British Columbia are not suggestions when set by law or by posting a regulatory sign. They are what is known as an absolute liability offence; you are either speeding or you are not. Technically, even one kilometer per hour above the limit is speeding. In traffic court if that one over can be proven, the justice may choose to convict you.
Is 10 Over OK?
Just how far can you push before the ticket book is exercised? Most drivers seem to feel that 10 over is acceptable, but it depends on the officer and the circumstances.
How Accurate are Speedometers, Radar and Laser?
Radar and laser speed measuring devices are highly accurate and the widest tolerance today is probably +/- 1 km/h at 50 km/h. In contrast, your speedometer could be out by as much as 10 km/h and still be considered "close enough" by the manufacturer. If you've modified the driveline in any way the accuracy could be even worse. Should this be allowed for?
Vulnerable Road Users
If you are driving in a school zone at noon and there are children present would it be better to be more exacting than on a sunny day with light traffic on a straight highway in the countryside? With so many vehicles out there being driven 20 or 30 km/h over the limit, should an officer bother with those at 5 over in places frequented by vulnerable road users?
What Do We Want?
B.C.'s original photo radar program was ended when voters chose a government that promised it's removal, even though the program proved to be effective. It is returning slowly today as it is incorporated with red light cameras at intersections with high collision rates.
Some of the speeds recorded have been significant, as much as 121 km/h over the limit, but as long as the owner pays the $483 fine there are no penalty points or vehicle impounds to deter these truly dangerous drivers.
Take Your Chances, Live With the Outcome
In short, no, you are not permitted to drive faster than the speed limit. Practically however, you push the boundaries and you take your chances with receiving a ticket. You also take chances with everyone you share the road with.
- Construction Zone Speed - Section 140 MVA
- Speed Relative to Conditions - Section 144(1)(c) MVA
- Speed Limits - Section 146 MVA
- School & Playground Zone Speed Limits - Section 147 MVA
- Excessive Speed - Section 148 MVA
What I Learned from Photo Radar
Fascinating examples of road users, speeders and fines.
I once received a photo radar ticket, it took a while to ascertain where on the planet is was taken.
When I realized the location, I have never been over the limit approaching that tiny settlement again.
I would endorse the return of photo radar. Besides making the travelled and adjacent to the travelled road, highway or street safer for others, it causes drivers to pay greater attention, knowing it is their behaviour that will relieve them of some cash.
I Prefer Police Patrols
I have the good fortune to be spending part of the winter in Palm Springs area. Driving down, I was cautioned about driving the exact speed limit in small towns. Indeed almost every small town had a patrol car and people drove the speed limit, I noticed patrol cars on the freeway.there is a tremendous amount of truck traffic and some truck are pulled over. The vast majority of commercial trucks do the speed limit.
We are in the Palm Springs area. Drivers are aggressive and at most red lights, a driver or two will drive through. Then again, I think of where I live and it Is not much different. I encounter bad drivers daily and 20 plus over is common on the Inland highway.
I think most drivers would drive the speed limit if they knew they would get a penalty as they do in small town USA. Photo radar or drones are cost effective, but patrol cars would be best.
Another thing I focus on is the fact your stopping distances are related to the speed.
Our Subaru could have a five kilometre difference I.e. winter speedo said 55km when in fact I was doing 50 km. With the summer tires on the difference was one to two kilometres. Get a dash cam with a gps in it to compare your actual speed gps with what your Speedo says. I found the GPS unit was actually more accurate as it matched all the road side signs showing your speed.
My Prime Objective
I have much to say about speeding on our highways. However, I will only talk about my experiences with speeding. For me what works the best is to give myself more than enough time to get where I need to be. I am calmer and act courteously to all I share the road with. Consequently if I am rushed the opposite is true. And it has resulted in photo radar tickets...
If I drive the speed limit or under the limit most want to get by me as if I am too slow!
I also find visualizing my route ahead of departure helps in the outcome and my execution to the task of driving.
I came to the conclusion many years ago that my prime objective in driving safely was to avoid collision and that is what I focus on!
I regularly hear (seldom see as they are out of sight by the time I can look up) Italian exotic cars (the V12 sound is quite distinctive) going up Taylor Way in West Vancouver.
I heard one yesterday as well and then saw this article on the new laws in Austria.
It is an idea long past due here. The car I heard yesterday sounded as if it had redlined in second gear, which for many performance cars is well in excess of 100kph.
the new Austrian law allows for repeat offenders to have their cars seized and auctioned off. Excessive speed generally being greater than twice the speed limit. It should apply to DUI as well.