The SENSE mission is to raise the bar in driving competency and have our government set credible speed limits that represent the UPPER LEVEL of safe travel speed thereby encouraging voluntary compliance. The status quo however, wants to keep limits the way they are, while continuing to expose all of us to arbitrary ticketing by the occasional, but sometimes frequent, overzealous traffic cops that understandably wish to follow the letter of the law.
Put very simply, we think the reasonable actions by the safe and reasonable majority should be legal. This makes for fewer lawbreakers, creates more respect for laws, requires less costs for policing and courts, frees up the police and courts to deal with serious crime, costs drivers less in fines, allows driver/taxpayers more disposable income which they can spend on stimulating our economy and, it’s the safest thing to do as we know mean travel speeds will change very little as a result. However, most importantly, speed variance decreases which is another way of saying there is better traffic flow which has known safety benefits, where attempting to enforce unrealistically low limits does not.
Drivers will drive close to design speeds of the roads no matter what the speed limits are. If limits are set correctly, not only will speed limit compliance increase but so will crashes decrease as travel speeds become more uniform. Don’t take our word for it, go here.
So to summarize, the BC Government, ICBC position is as follows: assume everyone will hit each other, clobber them ’til they slow down to the point of harm reduction when they inevitably crash. The SENSE position is to prevent the crash in the first place by minimizing speed variance through realistic speed limits thereby reducing complacency and raising the bar in driving competency. That’s it in a nutshell; a philosophical difference that leads to both plenty of conflict and unnecessary inconvenience and costs. Who’s right? Well BC drivers vote with their right feet every day. Who’s winning? Well the government has your money, unlimited access to it, to win the propaganda war. Call us idealists, but we believe truth prevails.
Recently the RCMP said there has been a dramatic reduction in crashes, deaths and injuries in BC (similar to the US) since the draconian changes to the BC Motor Vehicle Act last fall. One would not be surprised after such a shock to the system. Besides, the restaurant and bar industry felt that everybody stayed home after the changes, so again one would be surprised if there were not a significant reduction. Expect a well choreographed dog and pony show at around the time of the one year anniversary of new regulations. The Liberal government will take credit for this as a direct result of the harsh laws that were passed last fall. They are good at this; not good at much else, but good at putting on a good show for the media, one that seems to reprint just about everything they say, with little critical analysis from both time and budget constrained news reporters.
Interestingly, and surprisingly, there has been a steady reduction in speeding tickets lately. You just heard right, crashes down, speeding tickets down! However while the spin from the RCMP will be one of “hey look our new laws are working” and/or “look we are only going after the worst of the worst”, we believe that this fact confirms the SENSE assertion that there has been an absurd emphasis on speeding offenses in the past which have had virtually zero effect on traffic safety. Think for a minute there is greater speed limit adherence by drivers? Not anywhere we drive. The other thing to keep in mind is that historically when excessive speed was involved in any crash, so was alcohol and/or drugs. This fact is hardly ever noted by media and way under reported. Do you notice speed is nearly always a factor in high profile crashes? Have you seen reports of single vehicle high speed collisions at high speed late at night and think the major contributing factor had nothing to do with alcohol or drugs? If so, you are extremely gullible.
Look, a good portion of this debate could end tomorrow and the government, RCMP and ICBC could gain credibility in the eyes of thinking competent motorists if there were some sanity and integrity in the speed limits.