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Behind-the-Wheel

Why aren't the police enforcing traffic laws?

The work of traffic cops

It seems traffic policing involves only three things where I live—speeding, seat belts and alcohol.

From my point of view there is effectively no policing of other bad driving habits. Consequently we now have a majority of drivers not using signals to change lanes. A large percentage seems to have no idea that a left turn should end up in the left lane and the right lane on a right turn.

To make matters worse, police are also guilty of some of the same bad practices.

One can only assume it's much easier to collect fines by the hundreds sitting on the side of the road pulling over individuals out of the traffic with laser traps. It would be interesting to see the percentage of speeding tickets to bad driving habit tickets.

So, if the police won't enforce the driving laws other than their favourite three, perhaps ICBC should conduct an advertising campaign on T.V. showing the correct driving procedures and how this can make driving a better experience for all.

If we're not going to enforce the traffic laws, why have them?

This person raises a number of interesting points in their observations.

The function of law is to protect the free exercise of my rights against infringement by any other person, and to prevent me from interfering with the free exercise of the same rights by others. Traffic laws create the framework that tells us how to behave when we drive to accomplish this goal.

The current emphasis of traffic enforcement in British Columbia is 30% speeding and aggressive driving, 30% seatbelts and 30% impaired driving interdiction.

Speeding, aggressive driving and alcohol are a significant contribution to collisions and seatbelts are the best way to reduce the possibility of injury or death if you can't prevent the collision.

The 10% of time left may be spent at the officer's discretion.

There were 474,023 traffic tickets issued to drivers in 2022, 194,674 (or 41%) of those tickets were issued for speed-related offences.

Who Is responsible? Under the Police Act, the Policing and Security Branch is responsible for ensuring adequate and effective levels of policing and law enforcement. It does list contact information for inquiries about policing.

Perhaps what we need is a total reorganization of traffic policing in our province. Amalgamate CVSE and IRSU, then move all traffic enforcement personnel into it from the RCMP and municipal policing positions. The officers would work under focused management and be less subject to having to fill general policing functions that are not traffic-related.

ICBC and RoadSafetyBC are the government agencies responsible for driver education. The primary responsibility for driver education does belong to the driver though. When you first received your driver's licence, you met the minimum standard for driving skills. Neither of those agencies provide any requirement or positive incentive for improvement after that point.

ICBC does have a YouTube channel and a road safety section on its website but there is no instruction beyond the Street Sense hazard perception training application.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.



More Behind the Wheel articles

About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

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To learn more, visit DriveSmartBC



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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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