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Monday, March 19, 2012

Traffic Enforcement II

The police are only rarely criticized for the rather insignificant positive impact they have on traffic control on Canadian roads. In my experience, the overall effect is rather negative. The way the police see it, the drivers are very unsafe and you need officers with a whip in hand everywhere to watch their every step.

The press stumbles upon stories sometimes that clearly reveal the attitude of the cops, such as the report of a judge acquitting a driver of a “racing law” charge for exceeding the speed limit by more than 50 km/h. 62-year-old Ms. Raham was caught going 131 km/h in a 80 km/h zone when overtaking a slow moving truck. Overtaking is one of the most dangerous maneuvers in traffic. You need to minimize the amount of time you spend in the lane for traffic moving in the opposite direction. The maximum posted speed in this situation is reasonably important, but definitely a secondary issue.

Ontario Court Judge Geoffrey Griffin noted that Ms. Raham is not a stunt-driver. Rather, she is a grandmother, who wanted to be on the “wrong” side of the road for only as long as it was absolutely necessary. The Judge said that this behavior was not only natural, but "indicated a positive and meaningful awareness of the situation on the road and concern for safety".

How did the OPP respond? "Ontario Provincial Police declares that whatever the decision, we will continue to enforce the law and catch people who drive at breakneck (?) speed", noted the OPP spokesman. And common sense and respect for the citizen can again be thrown out the window.

“But inexplicably, nobody decided to give her the benefit of the doubt and revise the stunting ticket before this matter even reached a courtroom. Why not? Are Ontario's police nothing but unthinking automatons determined to see the law upheld at any cost in human suffering and fear? We certainly hope not -- and think not in most cases. But the danger that some of them might be is one more reason the law should not stand in its current form.” - Noted the National Post in an editorial.

What else did the OPP spokesman have to say? "OPP emphasizes that the law has been very effective in reducing the number of road deaths in Ontario. In the past two years since its introduction the number of victims fell by about 30%." The number of casualties on the roads in Ontario has been falling every year. For the past 25 years.

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