License to kill

After reading the Star’s story on people caught driving more than 50 kilometres over the speed limit, who are shocked to find they face actual consequences:

“I certainly would not have been doing 50 over if I knew this was going to happen to me,”

“Look, I was speeding,” […]”I expected a ticket, and then I was like, `Oh, crap.’ I did not expect to have my car towed and have them leave my nephews and I no way to get home.”

…it was refreshing to read Andre Picard’s manifesto on the inexplicable latitude extended to drivers whose poor skill and disregard for everyone on the road cause “accidents”:

Motor vehicle crashes are, overwhelmingly, anything but accidents. They are often explained by the behaviours of drivers. They are usually the result of irresponsible, risky manoeuvres whose potential consequences are largely predictable and avoidable.

Why are the OPP able to nab up to 35 drivers a day driving 50 km over the speed limit? Because:

Speed limit signs have become purely decorative. Stop signs too. Running a red light is commonplace. Enforcement of the rules of the road is negligible.

We have laws to protect the public but, without enforcement, they are hollow words.

As we all know, promising to enforce existing traffic laws is no way to get elected. So:

Politicians puff out their chests and talk about getting tough on crime, but they refuse to bolster the budgets of traffic squads or to implement sound public health measures such as photo radar.

On the other hand, OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino isn’t one to shy away from media attention. Let’s hope the success — and high profile — of the new law lead to a renewed interest at the OPP in enforcement of traffic laws in general. Maybe the Toronto Police will take note.