Tougher laws not sole answer to slowing down drivers: RCMP and SGI

By Nigel Maxwell
December 12, 2018 - 2:00pm Updated: December 13, 2018 - 3:20pm

Despite over 950 charges being laid last week in connection to reckless driving, a spokesperson for the Saskatchewan RCMP said they are not more concerned than usual.

The charges were laid as part of a week-long traffic blitz by the RCMP. Cpl. Rob King said the numbers are on par with what they normally see, but added more concerning was the high rate of speeds during adverse weather conditions.

"Driving through fog actually creates an optical illusion you can see farther than you can, which causes great concern when the speeds are excessive or even at the normal posted levels," he said.

As part of the traffic blitz, detachments from every corner of the province were involved. King said there was not one particular region or area in the province worse than any other, and the age of the people caught also did not indicate any trends.

"Generally it is younger people speeding more but it can just as easily be an 80-year-old grandma," he said.

King said he could not comment on if there is a need for stricter laws, explaining that the number of tickets issued can be variable on the amount of attention being paid attention to it at the time.

Last May, the fines for speeding in the province increased. The base speeding fine went up by $30 and the penalty charged per-kilometre a driver is found over the limit also doubled.  Previously, a driver caught going 20 kilometres over the speed limit would be charged a total of $130. That same ticket will now cost heavy-footed drivers $190 under the new penalties. It will also cost two safe driver recognition points.

Tyler McMurchy, a spokesperson for Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI), said higher fines may not necessarily be the answer.

"When it comes to changing behaviours, stronger laws are only part of the equation, another big part of it is enforcement and when you see numbers being reported by the RCMP like have you definitely understand there is enforcement, very strong enforcement throughout Saskatchewan," he said. 

McMurchy said in general, collision numbers, related to speeding, were down across the province in 2017, but added he too has noticed excessive speeds reported by police on social media.

"Clearly there are many people who don't understand that posted limits are not suggestions. Those are the law and speeding is a significant concern for sure," he said.

On Twitter: @nigelmaxwell

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