Celebrations during the Canada Day long weekend focus on gratitude for the prosperity the country enjoys. In contrast to the intended happiness of the event, it also produces some of the worst weekend traffic accident statistics of the year.
In recognition of this disturbing tendency, ICBC announced a July 1st long weekend “crackdown” by police on dangerous driving. Dangerous driving was defined as speeding, tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic and running red lights.
Targeting specific activities and focusing police resources in “hot spot” areas are proving to be an effective way of reducing injuries and fatalities. For example, the Vancouver Sun reported that last year’s focus by traffic police on seatbelt enforcement in which 100,000 tickets were issued to unbuckled drivers and passengers “resulted in 50 fewer deaths last year than previous averages.”
Police also focused on impaired driving which is considered to be a factor in 35% of crashes. The head of the RCMP traffic division, Inspector Norm Gaumont was quoted as saying that these two initiatives together saved ICBC $200 to $300 million in injury claims.
A new computer program for analyzing accident “hot spots” is an important tool for assisting police with refining this tactic. Media reports on this topic stated that drivers can expect speed enforcement on, for example, the Sea-to-Sky highway, “while roads with low collision rates may not be as heavily patrolled.” The visible presence of marked police vehicles on a highway is guaranteed to have a calming effect on the behaviour of drivers. Conscientious, law-abiding drivers will welcome this common sense approach to policing. Aggressive drivers can expect to be ticketed.
When a driver is signaled to stop by a police officer who is readily identifiable as a peace officer, the law requires the driver to immediately come to a safe stop. A driver stopped by police, will be asked to produce a driver’s licence and to identify the owner of the motor vehicle. Identifying the driver is the priority of the police in this situation. The officer receiving the licence will check the likeness of the photo against the driver’s current appearance, and ask whether or not the licence information is correct.
If a driver fails to produce a driver’s licence when asked, the police officer will ask for other identification and will record a detailed description of the driver’s appearance.
The law regulates all aspects of this interaction between a police officer and an apprehended driver. Failing to stop and provide identity information is an offence. Failing to produce a licence is an offence. Providing a false identity is an offence. Basically a driver should never drive without being in possession of a valid driver’s licence and the insurance and registration documents for the motor vehicle being operated.
Failing to abide by these fundamental licensing rules may add to the legal difficulties which a driver will face, when stopped for dangerous driving.
Please drive safely.