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.
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