Sandecki wrong to advocate fines

A reader replies to columnist's comments about distracted driving

Dear Sir:

Justice Minister Suzanne Anton is accused of being weak kneed by an opinion piece written by Terrace’s Claudette Sandecki. I found it alarming that she considers fines the only measure for eliminating distracted driving. Hefty fines at that.

Maybe all of the other provincial Justice Ministers’ suggestions for steeper fines are heeded due to the debt levels of the province. This correlation may not equal causation, but consider Ontario and Nova Scotia having $10,500 and $679 million in debt (RBC economic report, 2013). Their fines are also the steepest. Quebec is the only exception to this observation. Western Canada has a way healthier budget and lower fines.

Currently ICBC uses a progressive system that’s fairer and penalizes bad driving behaviour better than maniacally steep fines. As of 2014, penalty points related to dangerous driving habits increased the insurance premiums of those drivers. A surcharge is added that is called Driver’s Risk Premium Surcharge that starts at $395 for three years. So a driver is truly looking at $167 added with $395 times three. For an extra total of $1352 on top of their normal premiums. Don’t think drivers are getting away with negligence.

By no means do I condone distracted driving. I have personally suffered frustrations of unsafe behavior while driving due to distracted drivers. Many violators are busy people, their lifestyle habits are more to blame than their willful disobedience of the law.

Fines as deterrents work for the majority of the people, but not all. Let’s consider alternative ways to sway violators instead of pounding our pulpits, demanding higher and higher fines to little avail.

What do the police do when they wish to curb behavior in a community? They get active in schools, and host community events with incentives to participate and visit.

Evan Ramsay

Terrace, B.C.