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September 09, 2009

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David White

As an ex cop I agree 100% with Kenzie.
However any employer who provides Crown Vics to its
employees, is sadly out of touch with reality and the 21st century.
Not until younger leadership takes the helm, will anything change

John B

Easy solution: Increase speed limits to the 85th percentile so infractions actually mean something.

rob

Jim, I totally agree with your article and I only wonder what took so long for this idiotic law to be challenged in court.

On a different note, was in Texas this past weekend and I've never seen so many bad left-lane hogs.

Chris

As a fast driver with 45 years' experience and no accidents, I agree totally.

When it comes to the open highway, speed limits are ridiculous.

In built-up areas, however, speed limits should be strictly enforced.

George

I disagree regarding your comments that speed limits do not work. Having spent time in Melbourne, Australia, they have speed camera's all over the place on the freeways. Guess what, everyone travels at the same speed (around 98 to 103km/h) for fear of heavy fines. I mean everyone travels at that speed. It's so safe feeling versus here (98km/h in teh right lane, 110 in the middle and 135 in the left). Look at their statistics about road safety, much better than Ontario. The police then are free to go after all the other issues (you most almost never see someone not use a turn signal there (they will get caught), here it's the oppposite, many don't use it. The statistics prove they are doing something right versus us and limiting speed is one thing.

melanie m

finally, a voice of reason

Not A Fan of Fantino

"Going with the flow" is the only speed that makes sense, the only speed at which we can all be safest."

Speaking about flow... Hows this for CASH flow?

Southbound on hwy 10 just above Caledon. Going with the flow of traffic - about 20 cars or so, mostly SUV's and a van behind me and one in front of me. We're all going 15K over - all of us. We all pass a parked OPP unit who puts his lights on as the group go by and roars up behind and swerving through traffic to come up behind just me - and pulls just me over - no one else.

I ask why me only? He says, "Why were you passing in the slow lane". I say "What are you talking about - I was FOLLOWING everyone else including the van in front". "No, he says - I was going 1K faster". I say, you have to be kidding me, I can't WALK that slow". He wasn't kidding. I say, "Why are you picking on me only". (wife is witness to this conversation) He says and I quote, "I'm like a fisherman who goes after the shiny ones". I was picked upon because I was driving a Porsche 996. He even said he knew I wasn't trying to speed because he knows how fast my car is. I paid the stupid fine as I don't have time to go to court and lose a days pay booking the court date for 1st appearance and then another days pay for a trial. Pure cash grab.

If the police want respect from the public and want us to think about safety - this is the LAST way to go about it.

Shawn

Did you know that in 1975 the Ontario government passed legislation making it illegal to operate hidden radar traps in Ontario. Unless it was repealed when they introduced photo radar it is still in the books.

Nick B.

CLAP, CLAP, CLAP...!!!

Joe Shlabotnick

Jim - Are you a lawyer? A judge? No? Then save your vitriol for something you're competent to write about.

scott d

So people should just speed then. Great.I am a car driver and say why go drive on your own roads at any speed you want with all the other nut bars and me and my family will get there on time and safe at the regular speed on the public roads. Defending somebody going 50 over? Whats wrong with you?

J Mons

Too bad the law has already been ruled to be constitutional by 3 higher level courts. Griffin's decision will be overturned on appeal. Unfortunately for him he is going to come off as a bit of a country hick.

Paul Robertson

Well said indeed. The sad thing is that so many folks have had their lives turned upside down with limited recourse as the Judiciary moves ever so slowly to nullify this nasty bit of legislation.

I've had numerous debates on this subject with friends and family and I am frequently surprised at how dismissive people can be to their own civil rights if it chases the illusion of safety. Apparently, a Nanny-state, (or Fantino-state in our case), is a place worth any transgression of hard fought civil rights.

Fantino, I would hope, has the best of intentions, but at what expense. He's had his folks have been handing out infractions like rotten little candies with almost zero discretion. How many actually went to 'Street Racers' I wonder?

Shame on Julian and our politicians for abusing our trust and our rights.

Jason Fournier

I totally agree Jim. People who support this belief in black-and-white "safe or not safe" (speeding or not) have no understanding of the "spectrum of risk."

Everybody speeds. Most of us daily. Speed limits are often set by a vocal handful of locals who whine to their council -- nothing to do with safety. The vast majority of us are not involved in accidents while speeding.

Celia Cancelliere

This society of self-worshiping individualists is really beginning to sicken me. We can't even uphold a speeding law anymore for fear that what?, constittional laws are being violated!! What a joke.
I can't believe the judge let her off. Her car should have been impounded for 2 weeks, never mind one, especially at her very mature age, she should have known better. She was driving 50 over and not even on a highway!! That's fast!! I don't even drive 50 over when my eight-month old son is wailing and I need to get home to breastfeed him! Why? Because I always think of all those dead people (and especially children) who lost their lives because some ignorant, self-absorbed person had to get home to their (I don't know food, alchohol, sex, money counting?) at the expense of other people. Her daughter had twins -- ha ha, that's an excuse for driving 50 over?! When I'm driving, I drive respectfully and thoughfully for the lives around me (even the drivers of tractors trailers), because ONE DAY THE SAME COURTESY MIGHT BE RETUNRED BACK TO ME OR MY CHILDREN. It disgusts me that we revere an abstract relationship between driving and constitutional law rather than the lives around us...Has anyone seen the statistics on deaths and driving? This old granny almost made it to the stats herself -- as the potential killer or the potentially killed. Canada's justice system continues to protect us!

outwest

Jim Kenzie missed a little point why speed enforcement is done the way it is done, not just in Ontario. Let me explain by a little example: The mayor in our city recently tooted her horn how "speeding hot spots" had been addressed now. They have been addressed in the following manner: Position the radar vehicle a few car lengths before a higher speed sign or after a lower speed sign and cash in. This is not "addressing speeding hot spots" but rather optimizing revenue. And that's exactly what the OPP does. The province gives them their budget, and they have to come up with the cash per budget, so of course they will do speed enforcement that helps nothing for safety but brings in cash. I also wish the police would start picking the dangerous drivers rather than those who go 10 over while going with the flow. Not going with the flow is the root cause of dangerous maneuvers by those who are in a hurry. I don't hold my breath that there will be any improvement anytime soon.

Celia Cancelliere

If anyone takes literally the last line of my most recent posting -- "Canada's justice system continues to protect us, I would just like to say, what a joke!

Croozer

The OPP/Province won't be happy until we all drink the Kool-Aid that speeding is the one and only great evil on our roads mainly because other more dangerous traffic offences like improper merging and failimg to keep to the right are more difficult to prosecute and ultimately don't generate near as much revenue. There's a big difference between a couple of boneheads racing through city streets (which is what the law was intended to stop) and a grandmother completing a passing manouvre as quickly as possible (as one should). Radar is a great tool but officers ultimately need to assess the situation and circumstances and use their professional judgement. If all the job entails is handing out a ticket every time the machine goes "ping" then we can get high school kids to do that - and for a lot less money. Fantino needs to re-think his strategy and send out some memos before the entire law gets scrapped.

N. Dash

Thank goodness that someone has the nerve to be open and frank on this matter. Kudos to Jim Kenzie, whose comments are dead on. Our society and judicial system simply do not allow for any individual or group to be judge, jury, and executioner.
I find it difficult to believe that a police officer had firstly the authority to put that lady's life in danger by abandoning her on a lonely road, and secondly the callous heartlessness to do it. She is a human being, and someone's mother, wife, or sister, etc, not a piece of trash to be tossed out by the side of the road. Fortunately she made it home safely.
More fortunately, justice prevailed and the court saw this case as it should have been. The courts are supposed to provide that "sober second thought" and introduce a sense of fairness. This is necessary because police officers are human beings subject to the same failings as anyone else. I believe that the majority of police officers are honest people doing their job, but let's face it, some officers do have bad days, make mistakes, incorrectly charge people because of the colour of their skin or their different attire, use faulty equipment, etc, etc. The courts are there to right these wrongs.
We do not have to look very far for an example. Consider the case of the OPP sargeant (D. M-B) who was charged with "using false evidence to charge three drivers for speeding and stunt driving". We have no means of establishing whether this was an isolated case or a frequent occurrence. I am amazed that there was no public outcry.
While I also desire safety on our roads, I must conclude that this law should never have been passed, and must go. Now.

Joe

Talk about a fantastic article! I couldn't agree more. The fact our Police have been reduced (reduced themselves?) to nothing more than speed cops is ridiculous and borderline criminal.
Ever wonder why people tend to dislike Police but love Fireman when both of them are supposed to save lives? Fireman don’t pull power trips on the populace they are sworn to protect, nor try to burn citizens with random fines whenever possible. That’s why we all feel like our grade school teacher is talking down to us like a 5 year old when the Police lecture you on the side of the road about going 10kph over the speed limit when just last week you saw another Cop cruising along at 20kph over. If only they would sit and watch the areas 2 lanes merge into 1 and a slew of self-important drivers blow by the patiently waiting cars at a dangerous pace and force their way to the start of the line. Maybe try enforcing real traffic laws that make us safer like cars with bald tires, tailgaters, people running red lights, passing on the shoulder, or people obviously oblivious to the rules of the road or that can’t drive in reverse to get out of a parking spot, or continually fail to pass through a roundabout properly!

…or, God forbid spend their days watching high crime areas rather than speed traps. I can think of more than a few neighbourhoods that would benefit from having a CARING Police presence known.

Lets free our boys in blue up to do some real, much needed, interesting, and valuable Police work. I think everyone, the Police included will be happier for it.

Scruffy

YES!

Way to go Kenzie - I thought I was the only one who thought our traffic laws make no sense.

"Go with the flow" is, by far, the safest way to drive. In fact, the obstinate driver who refuses to go over the speed limit and ends up going 20km/h slower than everybody else is a real danger (as is the one who drive 20km/h faster than everyone else).

Ian

FINALLY!

this law scares me. I was on a road in Niagara Falls last month, and a car beside me almost sideswiped me and ran me off the road. I was 'going with the flow' at about 70km/h, and when this idiot almost hit me, I sped up to get away from him. I hit 90km/h, according to the police officer who pulled me over.

The officer ignored the near accident caused by the likely drunk driver who almost hit me. He ignored my explanation of the situation and my clean driving record. INSTEAD he threatened me with the street racing law, saying that I was weaving dangerously and could have my car towed. He seemed perturbed that I wanted to share my side of the story...he suffered from a bad case of 'contempt of cop'. He was about 26 years old, and all I could think was "how on earth can this neophyte of law enforcement honestly be expected to apply this bogus law?"

Fortunately he wasn't on so much of a power trip that he actually went this far. Unfortunately he gave me a ticket for 40km/h over the limit which was pretty well indefensible since I live 150km from Niagara Falls.

The law is utter tripe and gives WAY too much discretionary authority to police. We shouldn't allow their split second view of an incident at the side of the road to bypass my right to a fair trial...the police force's ability to levy about $700 in impound fees and a major PITA leaving the driver without car or license effectively makes them the judge. Even if at court an ACTUAL judge found me not guilty of street racing, I'd never get that $700 or that week of my life back.

I'd much rather take my chances in front of those individuals society intended to weigh the situation against the laws...JUDGES, not cops.

www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=48920631

Excellent work Jim Kenzie, excellent!

paul

bravo jim!its easy to understand the reall mandate when an opp officer pulls over a rv with the probable cause being he was doing the speed limit!lame brains even wait to intoduce the cell-phone law.either its dangerous or its not,and we all know it is.cash cow,and far too much police power in the wrong places!

Howland L.

You never fail to disappoint me everytime you write up on the ridiculousness of HTA 172. Keep it up!

Sam

We have two major highways here. One of them sees regular heavy speed enforcement by way of radar under overpasses (usually on a daily basis) and the other one sees one or two speed traps per month. Guess which one has more collisions? Yep, the one with the heavy speed enforcement.

I don't recall the last time someone was pulled over for tailgating me. In fact, I don't ever recall seeing someone being pulled over for driving aggressively toward other drivers, yet I regularly see people being waved over simply for exceeding the posted limit.

Driving education and enforcement needs to change if we want our roads to be safer.

paul

in an interview with that other little paper,fantino is quoted as saying they are "doing the lords work".....nuff said!!!holier than thou?come down from the moutain.this the guy that wanted the stunting law set at 30 over.

Jay Morgan

Wondering if I'm the only one that notices that the OPP are not the only police service who can lay this charge.....

I, for one, think it's fantastic. Unless you have lights and sirens on, there is no excuse for driving that fast. The roads are not designed for it, and drivers are not trained for it. Period.

tim

Jim,

Did you catch King Fantino's comment on this ruling?

He said he's doing "the Lord's work"

The guy is delusional, and the fact that he carries the kinda weight he does is scary.

Dario "DjDATZ" Zgrablic

*sigh* Since day one I've said this law is completely unconstitutional. You can lose your license and car for a week and incur up to $750-1000 in charges before even going to court! And in court, it's a minimum $2000 fine for something that isn't even dangerous!

Our highways are built for cars to travel safely at 150. 100 is a ridiculously boring speed.

Paul

I think it's good that this issue has opened up more.

I wish people could see that many OPP officers are in competition with each other on the number of these charges laid. I heard a discussion between two of officers in a Peel Region court. They did not care for 'serve and protect, it was I'll get more tomorrow, I don't care if it's a grandmother, kid, lawyer, an unemplyed person, even a firefighter on his way to work. Officer X has 23 this month and I am trailing by 3. Go get 'em. That's really what Fantino likes about the law. These officers have been turned into really bad marshalls of the law.

They are also in competition to see who gets the most courtroom overtime. Imagine an OPP officer who makes an annual salary of $75,000 can rack up another $25,000 in overtime for attending court on these charges. Is this in the spirit of the law?

That's really what Fantino likes about the law. All his boys getting well paid.

Anthony van Osch

I understand this grandma boosted her Audi to get past a truck. I would do the same. I had to exceed 140 here in B.C. to get past a truck on highway 97 that was spewing chunks of debris from its unprotected lowboy trailer wheels. He was doing probably 130 in a 100 km/h zone, just like the truck he was tailgating. For me it was either risk having my car damaged (or worse) or sitting back and taking it like a good, passive B.C. driver. I chose the former - falling back even a long way would have meant driving through the crap he was throwing off. This is a common situation in B.C. where truck rules and inspections are dangerously lax. A one-size-fits-all law can only be unconstitutional - where is the due process?

Lewis Torok


Speed limits KILL ... jobs !!!! North America can NOT sell cars overseas... who would want to buy them when they are designed for 55 MPH?
In the next 10 years our government will have to spend another 10 billion dollars to keep our factories working.

Larry

If everyone's supposed to go with the flow, how much faster than that speed would constitute an unsafe speed? Shouldn't there be some form of consequences for going excessively fast in relation to the circumstances, aside from (potentially) killing oneself and other road users?

Alan

Once again Jim is bang on the money, which is what the OPP's main mandate is for writing ridiculous speeding tickets anyway. I don't know of a single solitary person who thinks 100kph is a reasonable speed limit on the 400 series of highways. But of course, our government will never change that because it would reduce cash flow. It's very unfortunate that a population will believe almost anything if repeated long enough, and Fantino has been beating the "speed kills" drum for WAY too long. Give it up Fantino, and keep it up Jim!

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