Memo to RCMP: issue tickets, not advisories

Brian Jones
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I’m fed up with the RCMP. I don’t want to hear any more of their public announcements advising motorists to slow down.

On stormy days, I don’t want to hear that the RCMP is asking drivers to please, please, please don’t speed in the pelting rain or snow or sleet, depending on the season.

What I want the RCMP to do is send more cars and cops onto the highways to issue tickets to as many speeders as they can catch.

Before they do this, they should print extra tickets, because with even a smidgen of effort, catching speeders on Newfoundland (and Labrador) highways would be as easy as catching caplin in the old days. Cast your net, Mr. Policeman, and you’re guaranteed to haul them in.

The RCMP puts scant effort into enforcing speed limits on our highways. The proof is apparent whenever you take to the road. The vast majority of drivers on the Trans-Canada Highway speed with impunity. Even worse, most of them exceed the speed limit by 30 km/h or 40 km/h or more.

Try this, just for fun, or if you don’t believe the above. Take a Sunday drive on the Trans-Canada Highway.

Stay in the right lane and go exactly the speed limit — 100 km/h. Count the number of cars that zip past you — not the ones that merely go slightly faster than you and then move back into your lane, but the ones that breeze by at 130 km/h or 140 km/h and in moments are out of sight around a curve a few kilometres ahead.

Stop counting when you reach triple digits, and consider the point proven. Depending on where on the TCH you began the experiment, you probably won’t be very far from the city.

Keep an eye out for RCMP cruisers. Not that you have to worry, putting along at 100 km/h. See if the cops pull over any of those Indy drivers.




Got one!

Meanwhile, the other 99 speeders are undeterred and unstopped, and continue to endanger the lives of everyone on the road, including their own.

The fact so many people disregard the speed limit is proof that police enforcement is pathetic.

If more speeders were caught and ticketed, more drivers would slow down.

They may not care about your life, but they care about their money.

“But I’m a good driver,” many of the speeders will argue, “and besides, the current speed limits are unrealistic.”

Irrelevant and irrelevant. They may think they are good drivers, but at 140 km/h, showing off their supposed skill is a hazard.

If you think speed limits should be raised, write a letter to Premier Kathy Dunderdale. If she doesn’t take action, write another one. Tell her that raising the speed limit will cost $100 million. She’ll do it tomorrow.

The lawlessness that reigns on the road reveals yet another injustice. The insurance industry dings young drivers for exorbitant fees, on the unproven assumption they are more likely to be reckless.

But those speeders zipping merrily along without a care about cops or crashes are just as likely to be middle-aged as young. They’re just as likely to be driving a sedan, a pickup truck or an SUV as a muscle car or roadster (the latter two, in any event, are usually driven not by young guys, but by 50ish men who couldn’t afford such a car when they were 20, and finally can).

We’ll know the RCMP is finally doing its job when we can go the speed limit on the TCH and not seem like we’re holding up traffic.


Brian Jones is a desk editor

at The Telegram. He can be reached


Organizations: RCMP, Trans-Canada Highway

Geographic location: Newfoundland

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Recent comments

  • Tim
    August 16, 2013 - 19:36

    Speed control is obviously important, as without any consequences, speeders would become more and more bold. Many have seen this already. Still, in my current situation, if there was at least as much attention paid to finding my stolen boat(worth $50,000) as there is to a single speeder, there may indeed be a life saved. As much as on road speeding is dangerous, so is a jet boat capable of 65mph a dangerous asset in the hands of someone who is likely inexperienced and certainly uncaring about the stolen equipment. Sadly, this total imbalance of priorities by the RCMP has resulted in a total loss of faith in the Canadian legal system.(Notice I did not say Justice system, We dont enjoy justice in canada) As well as bankruptcy, and my own total lack of cooperation in any aspect of government present and future. Cost? well lets just say it would have been worth it for them to actually investigate.

  • tom
    August 09, 2013 - 21:49

    both rnc and rcmp do a blitz every year and catch hundreds...then do nothing until the next year. what a joke. Drivers are terrible... I want to see the numbers of tickets given per it has actually decreased...

  • Duffy
    August 09, 2013 - 20:13

    I agree 100%. There is Zero enforcement on the Island and the police need to ticket and lock up the speeders. I drive the speed limit and do so at my own peril because other drivers cruise at 140k and have no worry what-so-ever of any enforcement. Tickets and arrests with no warnings! The worse drivers in Canada and no courtesy!

  • Henry
    August 09, 2013 - 14:17

    I agree with Matt, speeding is not the major cause of highway accidents, all of the other reasons he listed, contributed much more to highway accidents.

  • Matt
    August 09, 2013 - 13:06

    I'm so sick of a) people droning on about how NL has the "worst drivers in the world", and b) how high speeds are going to kill us all. Here's why you're wrong... 1. Worst in the world? We're not even the worst in Canada. In fact, if you look at accident rates/ fatalities in Canada, NL ranks 11 out of 13! Or in other words, we're the 3rd best province in Canada for safe driving! 2. Well... overall Canada has some of the worst drivers in the World? Nope! Out of 180 countries we have driving records for, Canada ranks 142nd for car accident fatalities. AKA Canadians have fewer accidents than 79% of the world! 3. Germany, France, Italy, Spain, etc. etc. all have higher highway speed limits than Canada, and yet, they all rank above Canada in accident fatalities! So no, higher speeds don't necessarily mean more accidents. In fact, numerous studies have shown a) lack of attention, road conditions, etc. contributes to accidents far more than speed does, and b) driving under the speed limit can cause accidents as well! All this information is available on the web if you want to look it up yourselves. So people can throw out whatever anecdotal evidence they want... NL doesn't even come CLOSE to having the worst drivers in the world, and the numbers prove it.

    • doug
      August 09, 2013 - 17:01

      Actually, drivers here are really bad, I use my experience as a service tech in Toronto,calgary and Edmonton. Driving under the speed limit can cause accidents, if severly under the limit, but nothing wrong with driving as slow as 80 km in a 100 km zone according to the RCMP. I guess if a person doing more than the speed limit and coming upon a SLOW driver the result could be an accident. Most of you people climb out of bed minutes before you have to be somewhere and have to speed to make up for your laziness, shame on you. A STOP sign means stop, not slow down, not speed up, it means stop I am sure 90% of people here do not know that, so here it is in print and now you have no excuse.

  • Paul D Ryan
    August 09, 2013 - 12:17

    Oh my, those horseless carriages are a threat to normal people and horses everywhere! Now get off my lawn! You do realize that every additional cop in a police cruiser is at the expense of a nurse and a hospital bed, or a teacher, or fixing up public housing, repairing the roads, sewers or other infrastructure. This is really a question of priorities and if speeding is the worst of your concerns, obviously you have been living sheltered lives and need to get out more often.

  • John
    August 09, 2013 - 10:46

    All people need is a spouse to tell them constantly to slow down. My wife did that for years and now she is telling me to speed up...lmao....seriously though. There can never be a good reason to go 140 on the highway. I see it all the time and I used to be one of those til I smartened up on my own. While there should be some leeway on minor infractions like 10 over, but when you do more than that you are fair game in my books and should get a ticket. With respect to the drivers with thousands in fines. That is not the RCMP's job to collect those.

  • saelcove
    August 09, 2013 - 09:58

    Maybe if people learn to drive properly, I always do 20 over on the highway have never got a speeding ticket

  • Alan Henry
    August 09, 2013 - 09:11

    One change I would like to see is the introduction of red light cameras. I was recently driving in Calgary for several weeks and never saw a vehicle run, or even crowd, a red light. The cameras work. I was amazed at the quality of the driving in that city. Only once did anyone refuse to let me change lanes. Everyone used turn signals. They knew the difference between merge, yield, and stop. Driving was a pleasure.

  • Ed Hyde
    August 09, 2013 - 09:05

    The police are out en mass when peaceful protesters are at Muskrat Falls, or if striking workers look for benefits. I think their priorities are screwed up. When out around the bay I can easily count on one hand the patrol cars I've seen, no wonder crime stats are up. Drug dealers and manufacturers are not stupid. They flock to where the police no longer tread. There is probably zero crime at the Muskrat Falls site... no such luck for the rest of us.

    August 09, 2013 - 08:53

    Try driving down Church Street in Bonavista--or even scarier,walk!! Try using a crosswalk. It's a foreign concept to stop for a person crossing. You can be in the middle of the crosswalk and cars will just barrel through! They don't even see you. There is little driver awareness. There is little courtesy. High speeds are simply the norm. And an RCMP car is a rare sight indeed.It seems that enforcement is a foreign concept as well.

  • t
    August 09, 2013 - 08:47

    I so agree! They could pay the extra salaries with the revenue generated by tickets issued. Tickets for speeders and cellphone user alone would pay their salaries.

  • Myron
    August 09, 2013 - 08:37

    I understand the frustration BUT......if you people are serious about getting speeders off the road then YOU NEED TO GO AFTER THE FEDERAL GOV'T. The feds have cut the numbers of recruits going to the RCMP academy and also the budget of the RCMP. If ALL the Mounties are out writing tickets, then who takes care of other crimes???? GIVE YOUR HEADS A SHAKE...........................THESE POLICE OFFICERS ARE HARD-WORKING AND THEY PUT THEIR LIVES ON THE LINE FOR YOU IDIOTS!!!!!!! I THINK ALOT OF THESE NEGATIVE COMMENTS COME FROM PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN ON THE WRONG SIDE....AND AS USUAL, YOU DIDN'T DO ANYTHING WRONG!!!!!! YUP, RIGHT. Oh yes, then next week YOU will write a column lamenting the trouble in having a police officer come to your house because a kid broke one of your windows. Why is it.....everyone is an armchair police officer. Maybe it's times we become armchair Journalists (term used loosely) in the VOCM story of 2 days ago.......reports of a murder-suicide in Corner Brook.......but obvioulsy they didn't verify it with the police as nothing was reported by them!!!!!!

    • Kev
      August 09, 2013 - 09:07

      Wrong. Policing levels in RCMP served areas are whatever the province is willing to pay for.

  • Norma
    August 09, 2013 - 08:28

    Ya think you got the answer mr? Well WHY are there soooo many "drivers" ( probably shouldn't be classified as drivers cause they don't have valid driver's license) out there owing so many dollars in fines? It's not that the police aren't doing their jobs, they must have been handing out tickets and fines but seems like our justice system might have a few problems if these "drivers" are still on the road.My guess is, the police have a full time job stopping and ticketing the same people over and over and they are just let go to break the law all over again.

  • david
    August 09, 2013 - 07:46

    Speeding is not the worst crime on our roads...not even close. The Newfoundland government and RCMP should be the defendants in a massive class-action lawsuit for willful negligence. Drunk driving is an absolute epidemic here, a "lifestyle choice". Law enforcement efforts have been woefully inadequate for several decades, and far too many people have been injured or killed out of abject negligence.

  • Jeannette Hillier
    August 09, 2013 - 07:39

    I agree completely with Brian Jones. I avoid the Outer Ring Road because of the crazy speedsters. When I'm on the TCH I follow the speed limit...I don't care how many people pass me but I sure would like to see at least some drivers being pulled over by the RCMP. If these drivers don't care about human life then hit them with speeding tickets...expensive speeding tickets.

  • Marshall Art
    August 09, 2013 - 07:33

    I'm not only fed up with the RCMP, Mr. Jones, I'm also fed up with the RNC and Municipal Enforcement iin Mount Pearl. I'm fed up with the damn speeders on residential streets like Commonwealth, Ruth, Glendale and Park. The posted speed limits mean nothing to these nitwits as they roar all over the place, ignoring yield signs, tailgating, sneaking through red lights, turning left or right without a green arrow, etc. The next time I see one of these numbskull drivers stopped by the RNC or Municipal Enforcement, I'l take a picture to prove that I did see it happen. I saw a truck driver enter a busy intersection in Mt. Pearl on Aug. 8, near Tim Horton's and Canadian Tire Gas Bar.. He had a STOP sign but rolled into the middle of the street and forced all oncoming traffic to yield to him and his big , F-150 type pickup truck. That's another issue for another day, the damn ribneck truck drivers who think they own the road. Thanks to inaction by the RNC, the RCMP and Municipal Enforcement, responsible drivers have to contend with the drivers from hell every day.

  • Keith
    August 09, 2013 - 07:33

    This applies equally across the board. There is no smoking allowed in the entrance of the HSC, yet when was the last time you saw someone enforcing it, and when was the last time you DIDN'T see someone smoking there? The examples are numerous. I agree with you. Ticket these people until they can't afford to drive - but then they will just continue to drive with no license, insurance or registration. The roads are dangerous these days.

  • Mike
    August 09, 2013 - 07:13

    You must be the guy who drives at 90 km in a 100 zone in the left lane.

  • carl smith
    August 09, 2013 - 07:10

    Agreed 100%. I recently travelled from St. John's to Deer Lake and spent a week, including Gros Morne, and travelled back to St. John's. In that time I saw, one, yes ONE, police cruiser. It was a unmarked car pulling someone over between Deer Lake and Pasadena. And the speeds on the TCH everywhere were ridiculous!! Everywhere we need more police on our roads.

  • Joe
    August 09, 2013 - 07:08

    You have it all wrong. According to the RCMP Sgt. on the news early this week speeding is not the cause of accidents. The problem is "driver error". I guess, since this is not in the Highway Traffic Act, they are off the hook. I understand the plum assignment for RCMP is sitting around in unmarked cars watched the drug trade. No chance of getting writer's cramp. And if you make an arrest you can be sure the price of drugs will go up and you can investigate more armed robberies to pay for the increased price of these drugs. After all you can quite wet outside the car on a rainy day.