Maniacs on our roads
So once again we see that one of the outstanding features of a long weekend in the Bow Valley, at least for quite a number of maniacs out there, is the need for speed – the compulsion to get out there and put pedal to the metal.
On the Canada Day long weekend, the driver of a Dodge Charger was clocked at 203 km/h in the national park’s 90 km/h zone, while the dangerous driver of a Camaro who felt the need to be passing on the left-hand shoulder near Lac des Arcs caused a three-vehicle crash.
This recent Heritage Day long weekend offered much of the same, without the crash, thankfully.
This time around, maniac standouts included a couple of drivers clocked at 130 and 136 km/h in a 60 zone, while a motorcycle rider on Highway 93 North hit 190 in the park, then was busted for not stopping, among other charges. Others were in the 190 km/h region as well (page 13).
These are dangerous, dangerous people and you wonder what kind of training they have which gives them the confidence to drive at those ridiculous speeds while thumbing their nose at authority and endangering the lives of other drivers they share the road with.
We’re guessing none. It’s not confidence, it’s attitude – the erroneous attitude that driving is a right, rather than a privilege, and one to be abused at their whim.
What else would explain the compulsion to hit the speed limit, then double that? We’re not talking about Alex Tagliani here. If Tag went ripping past at a couple of hundred K, in a suitably equipped vehicle, we’d feel relatively satisfied that he wouldn’t be out there killing anyone.
Then again, there are always the unknown factors of all the other drivers on the road. Some of them may be nervous, they may be very nearly first-time drivers, they could be somebody who traded in their Civic for an RV for the first time this year. It could be someone making a simple lane change; without giving thought to the possibility of being passed by someone hitting nearly 200.
On the other hand, especially in our mountain areas and the national parks, a bear could walk out onto the highway; or maybe a 300 to 400 kilogram elk or moose. When struck by a vehicle, the rib cages and main body mass of long-legged elk and moose tend to enter windshields.
We’re glad to see the RCMP increasing usage of helicopters for speeding infraction enforcement, but with the recklessness shown by so many drivers, helicopter gunships may be more suitable.
Being that steep fines, loss of points on a licence and the likelihood of court appearances don’t seem to be a deterrent to maniacs, we wonder what would be. Would immediate seizure of a dangerous speeder’s vehicle, right there on the roadside, be more of a deterrent?
How about a conditional sentence as part of a penalty… where the condition would be swabbing out the inside of a vehicle involved in fatal crashes? How about a condition where someone penalized would have to help out with the recovery and towing of a vehicle involved in a high-speed crash?
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