Live by the (radar) gun

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

September 23, 2007 Ed Cartoon

New legislation enacted by the Ontario government aims to make our roads safer.

The legislation, known as Bill 203, would punish drivers going at least 50 km/h over the posted speed limit with fines between $2,000 and $10,000, licence suspension and the possible impounding of their vehicle.

The legislation also defines terms like “racing,” “contest” and “stunts,” giving courts more power to punish street racing. While the legislation takes aim at illegal street races, it also targets drivers who speed on all types of public roads.

The legislation goes above and beyond what present laws for similar charges call for, measures that are good for everyone on the road.

While some may argue these punishments are too steep, drivers who speed put others’ lives at risk, as well as their own. Given the series of accidents that resulted from street racing and reckless driving this past summer, tougher laws are necessary. This legislation goes a long way in forcing drivers to take traffic violations more seriously.

The Ontario Provincial Police report that since the legislation was enacted on Sept. 30, they have impounded 840 vehicles in Ontario, 610 of which were caught by the OPP on 400-series highways. This figure shows that serious violators run rampant, and that our roads have long been in need of a crackdown.

One cannot justify going 50 km/h over the speed limit, particularly off highways. There is no reason to go that fast under any circumstance, and the negative consequences of speeding on public roads for sport are undeniable. Therefore, Ontario’s stance is entirely appropriate.

Statistics also indicate young people are a major offender of these new laws. The average age of those who have been charged under the new law is 29.9 years of age. Fifty per cent of those charged are under 26 years of age while the most frequent age of those charged is 22.

By taking such firm action against younger drivers, the Ontario justice system sends a clear message. Young adults will think twice before speeding at such high levels, as the consequences come at the cost of their vehicle " likely one of the worst punishments they could face " and high fines they likely cannot afford.

This legislation also does them a service, as it removes their driving priviliges before their actions cost themselves or someone else more than just their car.

Speeding is risky, and if drivers are not willing to abide by clearly defined traffic laws, they must be willing to face the consequences.

One of the first things many young drivers learn is that driving is a privilege. Therefore, taking away the means by which a reckless driver takes advantage of that privilege is entirely justified.

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