I’ve passed these signs a number of times now on the TransCanada highway in Northwestern Ontario. The first time, I was mildly impressed, since the sign was out in the middle of nowhere. At the time, I thought it a rather expensive way of controlling speeders, given the cost of aircraft flight time.
The second time I passed a similar sign, I counted the markers. There are only five — yes, that’s right, five! — daubs of orange paint that proceed beyond each one of these signs. Somehow, I find it hard to imagine that there will ever be an aircraft overhead.
Yes, I know, it only takes two marks, a stopwatch and a cruiser to catch a speeder via an aircraft, but still…
Ontario has this crazy “stunt driving” legislation, wherein all that’s required to seize a vehicle, take a driver’s license for seven days and haul the vehicle off to an impound lot is a police officer’s word that the driver was “driving stunted”.
Of course, one does get one’s day in court, but by then, guilty or innocent, the impound costs amount to several thousands of dollars, and the police are laughing up their collective sleeves at the innocent who still has to pay the costs.
Here’s a good one for you: a motorcyclist was proceeding down the curb lane past an extremely long lineup of vehicles. Obviously, motorcycles are capable of doing that to get around traffic jams. Even though the rider was proceeding safely well under the speed limit, police charged him with stunt driving. When it finally got to trial, the judge threw out the charge, but the driver was still out the thousands of dollars spent to re-claim his motorcycle from the impound lot.
It’s much easier to claim a speeder was “stunt driving” than to actually go out and do some speed enforcement with a cruiser and an actual police officer. After all, the stunt driving charge immediately nets a vehicle, a driver’s license, and a driver. A speeding ticket nets, at best, a couple of points and a fine that the speeder can mail in.
And if you’re not speeding, but rather driving sensibly to avoid delay, what better excuse for rounding up people than a trumped-up charge of stunt driving?
Update August 15, 2009: Here’s a link to a little justice that comes around every once in a while, just to bite police officers and others in the ass. What goes around, comes around, as they say.