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BRIAN JONES: Fed up yet with speeders endangering your life?

Holyrood RCMP stopped a driver on the Trans-Canada Highway Oct. 29 who was allegedly travelling at 151 kilometres per hour.
Holyrood RCMP stopped a driver on the Trans-Canada Highway Oct. 29 who was allegedly travelling at 151 kilometres per hour. - Holyrood RCMP photo

Someday in the not-too-distant future, Newfoundlanders might be able to drive on the province’s highways and not feel as if they took a wrong turn and ended up on the track at the Indianapolis 500.

Law-abiding drivers have been complaining for years that speed-limit laws are apparently not enforced in Newfoundland, as well as in large swaths of St. John’s.

Regarding the latter, you may as well paint a starting line and a finish line on the Outer Ring Road and, for extra fun, hire a guy to wave a checkered flag for all those pickup truckers who need to get there first.

As for the Trans-Canada Highway, the posted speed limit of 100 km/h is funnier than Mark Critch — you can hear people laugh as they pass the signs in a blur.

Years ago on family vacations, you could play a game called Count the Volkswagen Beetles. The first person to see another bug got a point. These days, you can play Guess the Speed. You’re in the right-hand lane going 100 km/h and another car, or truck, flies past you — 120 km/h? 130? It’s impossible to know exactly, without a radar gun.

Usually, there are no radar guns or cops for miles around. People know this, which is why speeders can speed with impunity, endangering their own lives as well as those of others on the road.

Some people say highway speed limits are unrealistic, that with today’s vehicles and technology, motorists can safely drive at 120 km/h or 130 km/h. People who say this will invariably also say they are a good driver. The problem with this assertion is that everybody thinks they are a good driver. And yet, let half an inch of snow cover the pavement, and cars go in the ditch.

So no, drivers generally cannot be entrusted with a higher speed limit, despite your suspicion that you share ancestry with Mario Andretti.

There are signs of hope. The police, with extra time on their hands since marijuana was legalized, have evidently decided to start paying attention to the high rollers and carriers of carnage who endanger everyone wherever there is asphalt.

The RCMP pursued a couple of speeders recently, and on Monday sent news releases about their conquests.

Last Friday just north of Marystown, the RCMP pulled over a guy going more than 150 km/h in a 90 km/h zone.


So no, drivers generally cannot be entrusted with a higher speed limit, despite your suspicion that you share ancestry with Mario Andretti.


The guy is 21 years old. Thanks buddy, for helping the insurance companies justify charging $5,000 annual insurance to young men everywhere.

The RCMP stated the man was charged for “exceeding the posted speed limit by more than 51 kilometres per hour. The man’s vehicle was impounded for three days and his licence suspended for seven days.”

Meanwhile, in Bay Roberts, also last Friday, an RCMP officer came across two motorists racing in a 50 km/h zone. The cop flashed his lights and pulled over one of the speeding racers: a 17-year-old boy “who was newly licensed,” the RCMP stated. Good luck with renewing your insurance, kid.

The police impounded his vehicle and suspended his licence.

The most egregious transgression is the woman who last Wednesday passed an ambulance that had lights flashing and siren blaring. Stopped by Gander RCMP, she reportedly told an officer that she didn’t realize it is illegal to pass an ambulance that has its lights flashing. (See above: “I’m a good driver.”)

In a news release about the incident, the RCMP stated, “Under no circumstances is a driver permitted to overtake an emergency vehicle on the roadway with its lights and sirens activated.”

Imagine. Some drivers actually need to be told this. It’s this kind of ignorance that endangers everyone on the road.

The woman was ticketed — two demerit points on her driver’s licence and a $390 fine.

It’s a start. It took years for the public to abhor drunk driving. Now we need a similar shift about speeding.

Brian Jones is a desk editor at The Telegram. He can be reached at brian.jones@thetelegram.com.


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