Is it really a speed trap?

Bring back photo radar? 

I made that suggestion at the end of my last column, which was about speed traps.

Heck of a use of the word “trap,” by the way. The word is suggestive of unfair surprise.

You’d have to be asleep at the wheel to be surprised by being more than 10 kilometres an hour over a clearly posted speed limit. Isn’t that the cut-off?

Nobody’s pulled over for “slipping” by a kilometre or two. Or three. Or five. Or eight. Heck of a “slip” to get all the way past 10.

The same cognitive distraction that allows “slipping” more than 10 kilometres over the clearly posted speed limit causes most crashes.

Please understand: I’m not saying that exceeding a posted speed limit is the problem. 

Speeding just makes crashes worse. Much worse. Speed does kill, it’s just not what causes most crashes.

Fifty per cent of the car crash cases I handle are when a distracted driver fails to process a road hazard that is plainly visible through the windshield.

Not a shockingly surprising road hazard. Simply the slowing and stopping of traffic. Yes, 50 per cent of car crashes I handle are where a driver crashes into the back of a stopped vehicle.

The “cash cow” success of speed traps is a clear indication of our horribly low level of awareness behind the wheel. It’s like a canary in the mine. If the canary dies, it’s likely unsafe down there.

If drivers have trouble keeping their vehicles within 10 km per hour of the speed limit, it’s unsafe out there.

No wonder ICBC liability insurance rates are so high.

If we could only raise the level of driver awareness. If we were to do so even up to the minimal level of keeping track of our speed, we would increase safety and decrease crashes.

How about more speed traps?

Behavioural change requires consistent reinforcement. Speed traps around every corner would provide that level of reinforcement.

But that would be prohibitively expensive. We already spend a boat load of money on policing. We need our police to be spending their days catching bad guys, not holding radar guns.

If only there were a less expensive alternative.

If only there was some sort of monitoring mechanism that would automatically deliver stinging consequences when the mind wanders enough that a posted speed limit is exceeded by more than 10 km/h.

Oh right, the mechanism exists. Photo radar!

Governments are resistant to doing what’s right when “what’s right” will get them voted out of office.

Come together, people. Let’s give our political leaders the strong message that bringing back photo radar will be good for votes instead of bad.

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About the Author

Paul Hergott began practicing law in 1995, in a general litigation practice. Of the various areas of litigation, he became most drawn to, and passionate about, pursuing fair compensation for injured victims. This gradually became his exclusive area of practice.

In 2007, Paul opened Hergott Law, a boutique personal injury law firm in the Central Interior, serving personal injury clients from all over British Columbia. Paul’s practice is restricted to acting only for the injured victim, never for ICBC or for other insurance companies.

Paul became a weekly newspaper columnist in January of 2007, when his first column entitled “It’s not about screwing the Insurance Company” was published. 

Please feel free to email or call Paul (1.855.437.4688) with legal issues you might like him to write about in his column, or to offer your feedback about something he has written.

Email:   [email protected]
Firm website:  www.hlaw.ca
Achieving Justice Legal Blog:  http://www.hlaw.ca/category/all-columns/
One Crash is Too Many Road Safety Campaign: www.onecrashistoomany.com
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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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