On the May long weekend I miraculously survived another trip on Highway 93 to and from a trip into the Columbia Valley.
Some say this road and others where an animal or human is killed is a dangerous road, but that just is not so. Almost every road in this province is a perfectly drivable, safe road – the envy of the country – it’s users who are not fit that are making roads unsafe. Again the life-defying acts of stupidity I witnessed along the route among drivers was unbelievable. Of course, not one single enforcement unit was in sight.
It is rare to observe anyone adhering to the rules on this or any other road today. The atitude seems to be: “Damn anyone or anything in my way.” And the only probable way of modifying this behaviour is to increase fines to a level where only the medically-proven insane will speed, tailgate or ignore all common sense when using public roads.
What penalty will be necessary to force changes in driver attitude is yet to be sorted out, but someone in government must get the project rolling, or the carnage will continue.
It’s obvious to me, when nearly 2,500 more speeders were tagged in Alberta on the 2012 May long weekend than in 2011 that atitudes are deteriorating, not improving. That spike in bad driving behaviour is an alarming statistic and proves once more that the present “abuser pay” fee structure as applied by the courts is woefully ineffective.
People driving 20 and 30 and more over the speed limit (or tailgating, which is also a serious offence) should be viewed in the same light as alcohol or drug impaired driver infractions. There are not many people in full control of a vehicle at 110 km/h or higher in an emergency situation, unless they’ve been trained on a race course. This impairment must be recognized for the danger it presents to others on the highways.
For many years, I have advocated that roads within Canada’s national parks system, (speed limit 90 km/h), be used as a test bed for highway photo radar 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Photo radar used in municipalities is a proven, cost effective policing tool effective in “assisting” drivers to think about the speeds they drive. If ever used on our highways fines should start in the hundreds of dollars, like they do if you pick a mushroom in the park.
Revenues derived from corralling rogue drivers by this means would be immense. Those revenues would likely provide more than enough funding to cure all the financial woes currently the curse of police recuitment, infrastructure capital costs and upkeep.
An authority positioned higher than the judiciary in this country (is there anyone more powerful than a judge in his court room?) needs to oversee a touch-up of the court system as well to make the changes work. Improving safety on our highways by hiring more sheriffs, RCMP and other enforcement agencies to tag the uglies will continue to have little positive effect on the annual numbers of infractions if the courts continue to treat this blight as if a child had just stolen a candy from the jar.
When are we, as a civilized society, going to realize we have selfishly killed enough wolverines, deer, bears and humans and take meaningful action to halt the slaughter on our highways?