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BC: Our Traffic Safety Initiatives... 

The Traffic Safety Initiative (TSI) program was announced March 14, 1995, by Transportation and Highways Minister, Jackie Pement. The program consists of four initiatives which can potentially be labeled as 'safety' initiatives, and another four which are computer enhancements or fines collection enhancements -- not safety initiatives!

Honourable Jackie Pement, addressing the Legislature of British Columbia, June 22, 1995, Hansard p.15998.
"British Columbians have waited too long for government to act on traffic safety initiatives, and to wait longer,..., is unthinkable."

  • Speed Management Project (SMP)

  • Full implementation originally scheduled: January 1, 1996. Actual implementation: August 3, 1996.
    "30 photo radar cameras to catch speeders."
    The cash-grab of the TSI program, everything else is here either to support photo radar (the computer and fines initiatives) or to provide window-dressing to make this look like a comprehensive program.
  • Administrative Driving Prohibition (ADP)

  • Target start-up originally scheduled: May 1996. Actual start date: May 5, 1997
    "If a driver fails or refuses a test for alcohol, police will have the power to serve a notice of prohibition to the driver, take the driver's licence and issue a temporary 21 day licence. A 90-day prohibition will begin after 21-days."
    This won't do much because police prefer to give out 24-hour suspensions (as opposed to convictions for drunk driving which are overly time consuming and have lots of legal pitfalls) and many drivers may not get to the stage that a breath test is demanded.
  • Vehicle Impoundment (VI)

  • Full implementation originally scheduled: May 1996. Actual start date: May 5, 1997
    "Police will be able to impound on the spot the vehicle of anyone caught driving while prohibited or without a valid drivers licence. The impoundment will be 30 days for the first offence and 60 days on subsequent occasions."
    Great program if you actually catch these drivers. Photo radar won't do it, and may actually significantly reduce their risk of apprehension.
  • "New Driver" Improvement Program (NDIP)

  • Full implementation originally scheduled: June 1996. Current proposed start date: August 1, 1998 
    "All new drivers, regardless of age, will have to wait six months before taking a road text, or three months if they pass an approved driver training course. Through the learner's period, plus about two years after passing the road test, new drivers will be subject to a zero blood-alcohol-limit while driving, and could lose their driving privileges after as few as six penalty points."
    The required curriculum hasn't changed significantly in 40 years, we don't re-test drivers periodically, and drivers with licences outside of BC get a BC licence with no testing! Net improvement in the overall skills of BC drivers: negligible!
  • Fines Collection

  • Since about April 1995.
    "Expanded in-house collection unit, collection referrals, dunning letters, ..."
    A 'Safety' Initiative? In May 1995, $133 million in outstanding fines was owed to the Province. Between April 1995 and April 1996, the government collected a whopping $3 million (or 2.2%)! Currently there is about $137 million outstanding. At this rate, outstanding fines continue to grow by $600,000 a month and they'll never be out of a job!
  • Interest on Traffic Fines (INCA)

  • Full implementation originally scheduled: March 1996. Actual start date: CANCELLED.
    "Interest penalty on outstanding traffic fines."
    A 'Safety' Initiative? More revenue for our government! Now CANCELLED because the computers won't do the calculations.
  • Upgrade Motor Vehicle Branch Computers: "Driver Services Centre System" (DSCS)

  • Full implementation originally scheduled: December 1995. Actual start date: December 1995.
    "Replace existing text-based terminals with Windows-based Pentium PC's."
    A 'Safety' Initiative? Required to implement all the initiatives which make money!
  • Digitized Picture ID Cards (DPID)

  • Pilot start date: August 8, 1996. Full implementation scheduled: April 1997.
    "Digitized images and signatures, machine-readable bar codes or magnetic stripes, tamper-evident."
    A 'Safety' Initiative? Just think, in the near future when you are pulled over by a traffic officer, your driver's licence will act just like a credit card in their automated ticket printers.

    An Incomplete History of British Columbia's Traffic Safety Programs:

  • Mandatory Seat-Belts
  • Counterattack Road-Checks (1977)
  • Intersection Re-engineering (about a dozen each year)
  • Headrest Adjustment Program (1995)
  • Mandatory Bicycle Helmets (September 1996)
     Rev: 1999.08.01 contact SENSEtext map of SENSE web siteback to SENSE home pageback to top of this page