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Vague threats of speed enforcement

A threat of enforcement with no backing tends to create suspicion. For many people, if they don’t think that they’ll get caught, they are more willing to break the rules. Call it human nature. Maybe it’s behaviour we learn. But fear of apprehension is what keeps many of us in line and so when there is no likelihood of apprehension, many will break the rules. Which brings us to the vague threats of speed enforcement by aircraft.

On various, often more remote locations along BC highways you may see a sign indicating that the highway is patrolled by aircraft for speed enforcement. The suggestion is that there is an RCMP airplane hovering above, monitoring your every move either with a stopwatch over a fixed distance, GPS or some other high-tech method.

Does that change your behaviour? Are you more likely to drop your speed from 100 kph to 90 kph when you learn that you are being watched? Not if it’s not true. And it isn’t.

In our experience

In decades of defending speeding tickets all around BC we can tell you that we have never seen aircraft speed enforcement on any of these remote highways. The only aircraft roadway enforcement we’ve ever seen is in the lower mainland when a motorcycle fails to stop for the police, and they call in their helicopter to track the driver. And that is very rare.

The simple fact is that keeping an aircraft flying around to catch speeders would be so expensive that no police force could afford to do it. Police in BC don’t look at a cost-cost recovery analysis, weighing the cost of enforcement against the fines collected, but with the cost of aircraft it would need to be factored in. And of course, there are much cheaper ways to catch speeders, such as an officer on the ground with RADAR or LASER.

What is the message that these signs convey? Essentially, they are a vague threat of speed enforcement that doesn’t exist. They tell you that in BC some types of enforcement are nothing more than a threat. It tells you that you can’t always trust threats of enforcement and that if you break the rules, it’s not likely you’ll be caught.

Empty messages

We don’t think this is the right message to send. These signs may be a relic. Perhaps there was a plan long ago to use aircraft monitored speed enforcement. Regardless, threats of speed enforcement that everyone knows are not backed up merely sends the message that speeding isn’t something the government takes seriously.

Every driver is obliged to follow the rules of the road including abiding by the speed limits. We defend speeding tickets issued in Nanaimo, Nelson, New Westminster and everywhere else in BC because we know the value of keeping your record clean.

If you’ve got a speeding ticket, contact us. We’re the original BC Driving Lawyers and we defend speeding tickets.