Opinion: Excessive-speed fines haven't changed in 10 years. Time to raise 'em

When I posted an article a few days ago about a “speed freak” who had been caught doing 105 km/h on a quiet Burnaby street that has a 50 km/h posted speed limit, the usual pro-driver crowd came at me.

A few posted on our Facebook page with snotty comments “questioning” if it’s really that big of a deal. “Maybe the road can handle those speeds,” one wrote.

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This is what I deal with every day.

They refuse to accept that people should slow down under any circumstances. I dunno, maybe they’re bots.

But I did get a more thoughtful response from Burnaby City Coun. Colleen Jordan.

Jordan pointed out that the fine for excessive speeding in this case - $368 – has not changed in at least 10 years. That’s the fine if you are exceeding the limit by more than 40 km/h – the fine is $483 if you’re exceeding the limit by more than 60 km/h.

Jordan sent me a link to the Province of B.C.’s “fines booklet” and, yep, it’s dated February 2010.

“One of the issues is that the province has not raised the traffic fines for more than a decade,” Jordan wrote.

In the past decades, vehicles have gotten safer as far as protecting drivers, but many new, more souped-up models have been introduced to the market.

speed gun

One issue with these high-performance vehicles is best told through my friend’s experience buying a new BMW motorcycle. He said the bike ran so smooth even at excessive speeds that he didn’t always realize how fast he was going. When riding his old bike, it started to shake a little when he read the highway speed limit and that reminded him to slow down.

He got rid of the BMW because of that

So, with vehicle technology getting faster and more dangerous, shouldn’t our provincial fines go up in accordance with this?

I think so. Jack up the fines, I say, along with allowing vehicles to be impounded for much-longer periods of time.

Make it hurt to drive excessively. Make it hurt bad.

Jordan actually has a bit of a theory about why the fines haven’t changed.

“One other thought,” she said. “The reason I recall 2003, I was on council (rookie) when then Premier Campbell succumbed to pressure from cities, and agreed to return 100% of traffic fine revenues to cities, to help with policing costs. Cynical me wonders if that is why the rates have never been raised since? Why would the province take the heat for raising fines, when they get no return to their coffers?” 

I hate to be cynical too, but that's interesting.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.


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