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Not quite sure what to think. I guess its a good thing that the people going more than 50 km/h above the speed limit get stiffer penalties. The danger is not necessarily speed though, but the difference between speeds of each vehicle.


If grandma is cruising at 65 km/h, and a Schumacher wannabe is going 130 km/h, then we are going to have ourselves a little problem.


Speeding law has teeth that really bite

Mark Richardson

Wheels Editor




Oct 06, 2007


The message this week is very clear: There's no room on Ontario's highways for "extreme" driving. The law was beefed up last weekend to throw the book at speeders, racers and stunters.


As of writing this column on Wednesday evening, more than 100 drivers have had their vehicles impounded for seven days with all the towing and storage costs that includes, plus probable fines of at least $2,000 and an automatic seven-day licence suspension.


And that doesn't include the real cost of a massive hike in insurance premiums that will last for several years of obedient, careful driving, and stay pretty much forever if drivers don't reform their ways. A second conviction within 10 years could mean a second licence suspension of 10 years.


Some of these drivers – probably all of them – definitely deserved it.


The three down in Elgin County, for example, caught together at 3:30 a.m. Sunday driving two Mitsubishis and a Pontiac at 194, 186 and 179 km/h on a county road with an 80 km/h limit. They're the high-profile problem cases that Bill 203 was intended to combat.


Before it came into effect last weekend, the maximum fine for such driving was $1,000. Now it's $10,000. That's more like it, eh? Ontario's revised law is now the toughest in the country.


The 24-year-old caught at 140 km/h on the Don Valley Parkway in his mom's Mazda Protegé definitely thinks so, left literally crying beside the road.


And the guy delivering his client's Aston Martin from one garage to another, nabbed at 160 km/h on the Gardiner Expressway, is still without his licence. The Aston is still at the pound and I'll bet the owner's not happy.


The cops have been asking for tougher measures against such offenders for a long time and now they've certainly got them.


This law allows the officer to become judge and jury beside the road, ordering the vehicle towed and removing the driver's licence on the spot.


As the police rightly state, they've been doing this for the last decade with drunk drivers, who get an automatic 90-day "administrative" licence suspension. If they're later found innocent in court, well, tough. Nobody's yet been given any compensation.


Same thing for dangerous trucks. They're straight off the road and that's that.


Nearly all the suspensions so far – likely all of them – have been against drivers exceeding 50 km/h over the speed limit and frankly, that's fair enough.


Like them or not, we created the speed limits through the election of our politicians and the police are only the enforcers of existing law.


If we don't like the speed limits, that's a completely different issue that, theoretically, can be addressed this Wednesday on election day.


No, it's the definitions of racing and stunts that are the concern, where police can interpret poor driving as something else.


Squealing your tires around a corner? Take a look at definition 3.2 over on the left of this page. Moving across the lanes of traffic? 2.(1).3. iii can put an end to that.


It's clear what the police are trying to do, but there's now a far greater degree of interpretation than before and the judge doesn't have to know about it until much later.


As one motorcycle rider apparently protested this week, caught at 180 km/h on Hwy. 427 and left to watch his bike towed away and his licence removed: "You're kidding me! All this and no trial?"


By all means throw the book at people tearing through downtown, but does the experienced driver travelling on dead-straight, four-lane Hwy. 10 deserve to lose his licence and capable car for driving at 135 km/h outside Orangeville?


"The issue of officer discretion is obviously something that's fundamental to our system of justice, and we empower our police officers to make judgment calls on the application of laws, traffic or otherwise," explains OPP Chief Supt. Bill Grodzinski.


"But we're taking this legislation very seriously. You're not going to see someone getting (a charge) knocked down to 15 over to save them the points. Those days, on these charges, are over."


So get used to it, and watch your driving this holiday weekend when the OPP will be using more unmarked vehicles, including Chevy Impalas and mid-size SUVs.


After all, we've all heard of, or experienced, police officers on good days and bad days.


When they're doing their job well, as the vast majority do nearly all of the time, we're grateful for the sanity and safety these brave professionals provide to our roads.


But if they're having a bad day, let's hope their superiors and the judge detect it if it's reflected in the charges, and do the right thing when the case comes to court.


Toronto Star



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you're hardly a Schumacher at 130kmh, but you have a really good point. The safest way to drive is to drive with the traffic, get in the flow and not against it.

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I completely agree that they should arrest these douchebags who are driving at 160 on our highways, but I also believe that they should just as well arrest the Old grannies who are doing 64km/h on our highways. A granny who is driving that slowly is dangerous for everyone! Just as much as the idiot driving at 160km/h! We all know that nobody drives at the speed limit of 100Km/h. The average driver drives at about 110km/h. The speed limits on our highways should be revised. The minimu speed should be brought up to 80km/h and the maximum should be brought up to 110km/h.

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