Letter: Traffic deaths all too often due to speeding

Why not bring a driver’s attention to their speed by attaching a consequence to excess speed.

To the editor:

Re: WorkSafeBC Should Add Work Commute To Stats, May 2 Capital News.

I certainly understand Dr. Lovegrove’s contention that adding in the numbers of injuries and deaths that occur during worker commutes would increase the negative statistics for WorkSafeBC. He sites various road safety measures that we should all be aware of, talking about the team effort of driving instructors, traffic police, community planners, transport engineers, workers, employers—all very true. He talks about innovative ideas, monitoring and proactive safety programs. Again all have merit.

The one thing that wasn’t mentioned specifically that factors in so many injury and fatality accidents is speed. This problem affects all people on the roads, whether we’re on our way to and from work or not.

Our local papers have included article after article from readers about the lack of observance of the posted speed limits all over the valley. There is not a day that I am out on the roads, whether the highway or the contributory roads, that I am not passed at speeds exceeding those posted.

If we are honest with ourselves, most of us are guilty of driving just over the limit because we feel pressured to keep up to the flow of traffic that is going so much faster. If we don’t we are likely to experience the aggressive driving of those drivers that don’t feel that the limits apply to them, and that we are in their way.

The Highway 97 detour south of W.R. Bennett Bridge is a good case in point. The detour was monitored by police on the first day it was in place to ensure people observed the new 50 km/h posting. I saw two cars pulled over as I passed by early that morning.

Three days later as I was driving south over the bridge in the middle lane, 9:30 at night, the cars and trucks were passing me by at speeds more like 80 than the 60 limit, and when we rounded the first bend and hit the 50 km/h posting, they kept their speed through the entire detour. I felt like I was going in reverse.

No police in sight.

Now I know the police can’t be everywhere, but speeding has become a chronic and dangerous problem. Having moved to the area only three years ago, I have no idea why there is a ‘no-go’ when it comes to speed cameras. Having lived overseas as well as other parts of Canada, I don’t understand why the B.C. government is capitulating to public pressure against the use of a tool that helps to ensure that we drive responsibly.

Wherever I have lived, I have heard the term “cash cow” applied to the use of speed cameras, and don’t agree. If monitoring speed is done with any tool, the only ones who are affected are the drivers breaking the law.

Why bother posting speed limits if they don’t mean anything? Why not bring a driver’s attention to their speed by attaching a consequence to excess speed. Why not routinely use speed cameras in areas where speeding is problematic?

Those roadside signs that flash your speed back to you don’t mean a thing to those who see themselves as exceptions. From what I’ve experienced, there are more ‘exceptional’ drivers around than the rest of us who keep our speed to the limit. That’s what the law has specified.

If we are serious about road safety and saving lives, it’s time to get tough on speeding.

Marilyn Whitburn,

West Kelowna


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