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BCAA - do they truly represent their members?

A message to Members of the British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) from SENSE. You decide just who BCAA really represents: its members, or the government?...
  1. The American Automobile Association (AAA) "opposes the use of photo radar surveillance systems that automatically photograph vehicles so that citations for alleged speeding offenses can be mailed to vehicle owners without contact with traffic officers. Such systems undermine fair and reasonable enforcement of traffic laws. " (source: AAA Policies for the period ending April 1996). Despite well researched opposition to photo radar by AAA, BCAA supports its use.
  2. On June 19, 1995, Brian Hunt, President of the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) called for the setting of speed limits using the 85th percentile (i.e. 15 per cent of vehicles would be exceeding the posted speed limit, under free-flow conditions). Highway speed limits in B.C. typically align at the 30th percentile (i.e. 70 per cent of vehicles would be exceeding the posted speed limit, under free-flow conditions), yet BCAA supports photo radar enforcement of these speed limits which are not set at the 85th percentile, and in many cases are unjustifiably low.
  3. The BCAA Director of Government Affairs, John Ratel, sent SENSE a letter on June 15, 1995, stating that "Opposition members cited our position [that there be an independent review of speed limits] during that debate [Bill 25] and obtained from the Minister responsible [Jackie Pement], an assurance that there will be an independent review of speed limits before photo radar is introduced." This review has not occurred, yet BCAA continues to support the government.
    To date, the only review of speed limits has not been to international standards, and occurred after the start of "speed kills" advertising and after the introduction of photo radar (therefore skewing the baseline results), and these reviews have not been to set speed limits at the 85th percentile.
  4. A survey of BCAA members (submitted Sept. 21, 1995, by Angus Reid Group) stated that photo radar had the least support (64%) of all the Traffic Safety Initiatives. While a majority of members supported photo radar, SENSE believes that this poll was conducted under conditions designed to induce support for photo radar, and that the questions and methodology used do not result in accurate representations of the true views of BCAA's members, nor was the actual operation of photo radar adequately explained to the respondents.
  5. A BCAA brochure dated 10/95 states: "BCAA takes your views to government on issues concerning BCAA members and motorists. You can help BCAA encourage government to continue its efforts by completing the following form and returning it to BCAA: [check mark] YES! I support the government's plan to save lives and reduce health care and insurance costs by using photo radar to catch speeders." There is no option to indicate no! -- they don't care what your opinion is, they've already made it up for you!
  6. BCAA is the largest retailer of automobile insurance policies for ICBC (the people charged with implementing photo radar in BC). In 1995, ICBC paid to BCAA $7,178,105 (source: ICBC Statements and Schedules of Financial Information, for the year ended December 31, 1995).

 Rev: 1999.08.01 contact SENSEtext map of SENSE web siteback to SENSE home pageback to top of this page