Has anyone else been caught by the famed “Photo Speed Enforcement” program? No? Lucky you! I have and for me it sure created some mixed feelings about the whole process.
My first thoughts on Photo Speed Enforcement ticketing is that it was lazy policing. How easy is it to set up a few cameras and catch speeders as they fly by? And where's the "human element"? What about discretion? What if there was a very valid excuse for speeding? Say... sudden explosive diarrhea? Or your wife is in intense labour pains and she's this close to delivering the baby? Will the camera know for sure?
Actually those are bad examples. I don't think that if I was experiencing either one of those situations that I'd like a Police Officer pulling me over at any time. I'd take my Photo Enhanced speeding ticket lumps and get to the nearest restroom or hospital but I think you know what I mean.
However, let's back it up to the $118.00 speeding ticket that I received in the mail that shocked and angered me. I'm like..."what the deuce? When the heck was this? Was this me?" because I'm not a speeder. No, really! I know everyone says that but I'm not! This is the third speeding ticket in my life and I've been driving for forty-plus years. And some of those years I was driving for a living and logging a ton of miles on the road. Oh sure, like most, I'll maybe push the limit a bit but I'm not a 20-30 kliks an hour over the speed limit kind of driver.
You know what, though? Turns out that it was definitely me, or our truck with the very noticeable HUBZ vanity plate on the rear bumper. It was also the day of my oldest brother's funeral in Medicine Hat and we were on our way to the funeral home at the time of the ticket so it was definitely me driving. And I know that.
Distracted driving? Yes, kind of, I guess. I was about to deliver my brother's eulogy in a short amount of time and I probably didn't have my head in the driving game. But that's no excuse. I was speeding through a school zone that I had driven through probably a hundred times or more. A school zone! 44km/hour in a 30 km zone. Tsk, tsk, tsk. Again, no excuses! Lazy policing?? I think not. Did I deserve the ticket? Damn right I did. Smarten up! Pay attention...you are endangering children's lives here!
Let's back up again to the earlier point about discretion and the "human element". Maybe there are a few drivers who could schmooz their way out of the occasional ticket, or something, and there will always be the odd "judgment" call but the percentages would be so miniscule that, in my humble opinion, it doesn't offset the good that can be accomplished by policing our roads 24-7-365 with the technology that is available to us today.(I.E.-Photo Speed Enforcement).
Do you know how many people speed through school zones and road crew work zones? Do you have any idea how many Highway Patrolmen, Highway Traffic Officers and road construction workers have been killed or maimed by drivers who were speeding or impaired or just plain inept at their driving skills? Even one is too many and we know that the number is a lot higher than that.
I've put on an awful lot of kilometers on many vehicles over many years and my observance is that there are more people on the road than ever before and there are a lot more speeders than ever before. And excessive speeds, too. When they pass you like you are standing still going 110km/hour then we need to do something about it. And if it's too dangerous to police our highways with actual Police Officers then what are we left to do?
On July 13th, 2015 a 19-year-old woman was clocked at 195kms/hour (121mph) on the Trans Canada highway west of Regina at 11o'clock in the morning. 195 Kilometers per hour!! I don't care, nobody should be going that fast and we shouldn't even be manufacturing domestic vehicles with those kinds of speed capabilities. It's just too dangerous. If you want speed there are places for that kind of thing. If you have a death wish at 19-years-old then have at 'er honey but take up cliff jumping or rock climbing or parachuting or shoot yourself out of a cannon if you love speed so much but don't drive down one of the busiest public roadways in the country 85 kilometers an hour over the speed limit endangering the lives of every other person on the road.
Photo Speed Enforcement isn't cheap or cheesy or lazy policing. It is simply using the tools and technology at hand to reduce high-risk behaviour while lowering fatalities on our roadways and increasing public safety. That can't be a bad thing, can it?
"Safety is something that happens between your ears, not something you hold in your hands.", Jeff Cooper (1920-2006).