Posts Tagged ‘traffic laws’

Speed Kills… Your Pocketbook


Been meaning to post this video up on the blog for awhile now but keep forgetting. It is a pretty interesting video that focuses on how Governments set speed limits artificially low so they can write more tickets. It looks at how ICBC, the Vancouver Police Department and the media all have a hand at shaping or distorting the truth when it comes to speeding.

Continue Reading: Watch the video

How To Navigate A Traffic Circle / Roundabout

5 Road Traffic Circle at Mackenzie Towne

Pictured above is the traffic circle located in Mackenzie Towne. While most of the “traffic circles” in Calgary are of the miniature single lane traffic calming variety, this one is a dual lane version connecting five roads together. The traffic circle was built not only to move traffic more efficiently than intersections with traffic lights, but also to move the traffic in the area with a higher degree of safety. With traffic all going in the same direction, head-on collisions and right angle (t-bone) accidents are prevented. The environmental benefits are there too since there are no cars stopped at red lights with the use of a traffic circle.

Thats great! properly designed roadways to handle traffic is a rarity in Calgary. Just look at how many new “interchanges” have lights. Mackenzie Towne residents know the real reason why the city prefers to build interchanges/intersections with traffic lights. Many drivers don’t know how to properly navigate a traffic circle! When uneducated stupid drivers enter the traffic circle and drive all the way around the circle in the right lane oblivious to the drivers honking at them, the traffic circle goes from efficient roadway to fancy looking roadway with long queue of cars waiting to get through.

This handy little guide is for all the frustrated drivers out in Mackenzie Towne who are sick of drivers that don’t know how to navigate a traffic circle. Hopefully people will read this post and share it with people they know who drive in the area.

1. Before arriving at the traffic circle, figure out which exit you will be taking as it will determine which lane you should use. You may actually use either lane but we’ll get into that later. Traffic flows counter clockwise in the traffic circle, so on this particular traffic circle there are 4 exits, and 5 technically if you want to go back the way you came from. If you plan on exiting on the first 2 exits, you’ll want the right lane. For exits 3 and 4 (or 5), you should be in the left lane.

2. Drivers in the left lane inside the circle have the right of way. Drivers in the right lane inside the circle should be exiting the circle. In point 1, I mentioned that you could use either lane to navigate the circle but that the left lane should be used if you are heading to an exit that is past the 2nd one. If you chose to use the right lane, you MUST yield to traffic that is in the left lane that need to exit the circle.

3. When entering the circle, wait for cars to pass and enter. If you are in the left lane, stay in your lane and go to the inside lane of the circle. When you reach the exit you want, stay in your lane when exiting. Remember, you have the right of way and traffic in the right lane should be yielding to you. If you entered from the right lane, exit the circle in your own lane. If you want to proceed past an exit, simply yield to traffic in the left lane that may be exiting and continue through to your exit.

That’s all there is to it! If you find everything all too confusing try to remember this:
1. Cars on the inside lane of the circle (left lane) have right of way
2. Cars on the outside lane of the circle (right lane) must yield to cars on the inside of circle who are exiting
3. When exiting the circle, stay in your lane

It’s great that the City of Calgary is looking at ways to improve our roadway system both for drivers and for pedestrians, but in this case I feel there needs to be a stronger educational campaign involving driving schools. Perhaps the test should include a quick trip to the traffic circle in Mackenzie Towne!

Feel free to add anything that was missed by leaving a comment to this post. Also, if you feel any of this is inaccurate, please share!

Open Liquor In a Vehicle

On a sunny afternoon patrol one weekend I stopped a vehicle that had been exceeding the speed limit. As I approached, I could see two gray haired women in the front and two men of the same vintage in the rear of the car. I could also see a partially consumed cold beer in the hand of each of the men, who made no attempt to hide them from me.

I explained that the liquor was being possessed and consumed illegally and that I would be searching the car under the provisions of the Liquor Control and Licensing Act. I had to convince the two to hand over the two open bottles of beer and searched for and seized the balance under very strong verbal protest.

The registered owner of the vehicle, a local resident, was one of the males and he exclaimed that he could see nothing wrong with enjoying a drink with his visiting guest as his wife drove the car. She had not been drinking, but she received the ticket for illegal transport of the liquor.

Perhaps I have seen too many collisions caused by impaired drivers, but I do believe that there are more appropriate places to enjoy an alcoholic drink than doing so in the passenger compartment of your vehicle while it is being driven on the highway. In my view it is a very short step between passengers drinking and the driver joining in too.

Reference Links

Double Solid Yellow Lines

Could you talk about the rule about not crossing a double line when driving? A friend and I were talking about this and she thought there had been an update on this rule, that you were allowed to cross a double line under certain circumstances, though she could not remember what the circumstances were.

The rules regarding double solid yellow lines on British Columbia highways have not changed. They require that a driver remain to the right of them at all times. Technically, this means that as soon as your left side tires stray onto the lines themselves, you have broken those rules. You are not even allowed to cross them in order to avoid an obstruction on the highway as you may with single lines or a combination of single and broken lines.

I have seen many ticket disputes for crossing a double solid line ranging from “I wasn’t passing anyone” to “my car wasn’t completely over the line.” One gentleman even tried to explain that he was avoiding an article on the road by going around it to the left. Had he slowed down and gone around it on the right where there was room to pass by safely, he would have avoided joining all these people who were convicted by the traffic court justice.

There is only one exemption to the requirement to keep right and that is when a driver is entering or leaving the highway. Given the extremely broad definition of the word highway in the Motor Vehicle Act, this is not an easy thing to do. For instance, turning over a double solid line to enter the driveway of a service station or a store parking lot is not leaving the highway, as these places are considered to be part of the highway. In fact, the only example that easily comes to my mind is when I enter or exit a residential driveway although there may be other examples.

Reference Links

Top 10 Most Ticketed Vehicles

Toyota Matrix, 10th Most Ticketed Vehicle

Toyota Matrix, 10th Most Ticketed Vehicle

MSN Autos just released a list of the Top 10 Most ticketed vehicles in the United States. The list is pretty interesting on one hand, but after taking a moment to think about the results, its pretty much a useless list. For the most part, the owners of the vehicles on the most ticketed list are younger and tend to speed more often or engage in otherwise ticketable offenses.

Top 10 Most Ticketed Vehicles

10. Toyota Matrix (tied)
10. Audi A4 (tied)
8. Subaru Outback
7. Scion xA
6. Mercedes CLS63 AMG
5. Toyota Solara
4. Mercedes Benz CLK63 AMG
3. Scion xB
2. Scion tC
1. Hummer H2

Jaguar XJ, Least Ticketed Vehicle in the United States

Jaguar XJ, Least Ticketed Vehicle in the United States

In contrast, the least ticketed vehicles are typically (yes I’m totally stereotyping) owned by older, more mature drivers. Most of these vehicles are also domestic marques, could there be a conspiracy by the domestic auto makers to drive up sales by attempting to convince the public that if they drive one of their vehicles they’ll be less likely to be pulled over?

Top 10 Least Ticketed Vehicles

10. GMC Sierra 1500
10. Buick Lucerne
8. Oldsmobile Silhouette
8. Buick Rainier
6. Mazda6
5. Buick Park Avenue
4. Chevrolet C/K 2500/3500
3. Chevrolet Tahoe
2. Chevrolet Suburban
1. Jaguar XJ

Crash In Winter; Pay For All Damages

The Ontario Goverment strikes again with another new law aimed at drivers. You may remember that Ontario enacted a very controversial street racing law back June of 2007 that allows Police officers to charge drivers with street racing if they exceed the speed limit by more than 50 km/h even if there are no other drivers present. This time, the Ontario Government is proposing a law that will make drivers pay for all damages if they crash in bad weather.

Commissioner Julian Fantino will propose absolute liability legislation today under the Highway Traffic Act to hold irresponsible drivers accountable. This essentially means making drivers pay for accidents in which they were driving aggressively in poor weather, not insurance companies

While I do agree that drivers that are driving far too fast for the conditions should be on the hook, I question how effectively this new proposal would be enforced. Would drivers be given the benefit of doubt or would they be assumed guilty with no appeal like the existing street racing law? Does the responding officer make the call or is it up the insurance companies? Does it matter?

Source: Canadian Press

What Does a Traffic Cop Do?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that most people see a traffic cop as someone who writes speeding tickets and fills out collision reports. This is a very narrow view of the job but I did not realize just how narrow it was until I participated in a project to define my job as a front line RCMP traffic constable. Who would have thought that this would take us three days?

Six experienced traffic constables from the four western provinces met at K Division Headquarters in Edmonton and were led in a functional job analysis by Dr. James McGinnis of the Research Branch of Human Resources Directorate of the RCMP. We brainstormed together, trying to list all of the different tasks that we were expected to perform and the knowledge that we required to do them.

The meeting room walls were soon covered with sheets of paper, each listing a single task description. Writing traffic tickets was part of the description, but only after skills and knowledge were applied to determine that the tickets were being written in the right place for the right reasons in order to reduce the behaviours that led to collisions. Incidentally, familiarity with all of the federal and provincial traffic related statutes was a must as well.

The task bank eventually identified 13 specific areas of ranging from communication skills for report writing, planning and court testimony to conducting a high speed pursuit safely. These were considered the minimum necessary to successfully perform the job. They did not include specialties such a collision reconstruction, commercial vehicle mechanical inspection or the instruction of others in these traffic skills.

There has always been a friendly rivalry between the general duty constables and those of us on traffic. I smiled when I read that the task bank indicated that we were expected to have their knowledge and the identified traffic enforcement knowledge as well. Back at you guys!

Reference Link

Forum Weekly Review August 23

In this weekly segment, we cover the top discussions going on in the car forums. These threads may be the most recent hot topics, or epic threads that we just wanted to dig up and feature.

If you have a suggestion for a thread to be included on the forum weekly review, e-mail it to If you have not joined our forums, register today its free!

Playground Zones: Cause More Harm For Children?
What started off as a rant for drivers to slow down in Playground zone turns into a heated debate on the effectiveness of Playground Zones. Do These 30 km/h zones distract drivers even more? Do they create a false sense of security for parents?

Dog Dies During Traffic Stop
In this video, an officer pulls over a speeding driver (who hit up to 100mph) who is rushing to the vet for his sick dog. Instead of escorting the man to the vet, or allowing his girlfriend to take the vehicle and continue on the officer detains the man and the dog eventually dies. Should the officer have let him continue on and ticket him later? Is a dogs life important enough to risk the lives of other drivers? Would a warning have sufficed?

Indian boy who performed surgery at 7 is now 13 years old
An incredible story about a boy in India who performed surgery on an 8 year when he was only 7 years old. This gifted child is now 13 and believes he will find the cure for cancer, but is he really that intelligent? Will his development slow down as he ages? Researchers think so and politely tell the boy he is not ready and needs to take a step back to re-evaluate his goals. What do you think?

Angela Ta Kills 6 Year Old Girl With BMW, Gets Away With It

Angela Ta Leaves Court

Angela Ta Leaves Court, Found Not Guilty on All Charges

In January of last year a 6-year-old, Jenna Chang was killed and her mother Ye Qiao was seriously injured while in a crosswalk near the University of Calgary. Even though a vehicle was already stopped in front of the crosswalk, a black BMW driven by Angela Ta failed to stop and hit the two pedestrians. Ta was charged with three traffic violations, careless driving, failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk and passing a vehicle stopped for a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

On Monday, she was found not guilty on all three charges because of a simple technicality. The Judge in the case, Catherine Skene ruled that Ta did not have enough time to stop:

“Based on the evidence and testimony that I did have before me,” wrote Skene, “there is evidence to suggest that the two pedestrians stepped off the sidewalk and/or curb, onto the roadway — specifically westbound 32nd Avenue into the path of Ta’s vehicle when Ta’s vehicle was so close that it was impracticable for the driver to yield the right of way.”

What a load of bullshit! There was a vehicle already stopped at the crosswalk, and every driver is expected to at least slow down before proceeding through, which Ta did not do. Even her passenger testified that he saw the pedestrians after “bending down” to adjust the air vents. Ta should have seen the pedestrians on the side of the road before they were even crossing and stopped (like the other vehicle did).

The Crown argued this point and said Ta should have seen the pair at the side of the road before they entered the crosswalk. However, the law states that you must yield to pedestrians who are in a crosswalk. The technicality that I mentioned earlier is that a crosswalk is the area between the two big white lines on the road. You see, when Jenna Chang and her mother were standing on the side of the road drivers like Angela Ta are not required to yield to them because they are not in the crosswalk.

That explains the not guilty verdict for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk and passing a vehicle stopped for a pedestrian in a crosswalk. The last charge of careless driving was easily beat because independent witnesses testified that Ta was driving under the 60 km/h speed limit on a straight road with both hands on the wheel (uhh… yeah, right).

Ta now still has to go through a civil trial where she will likely be found at fault. Judge Catherine Skene wrote in her decision:

“Civil liability and negligence law and a civil trial judge or jury may consider the Crown’s submissions more persuasive and impose or imply a duty of care on an operator of a vehicle for the safety of pedestrians, depending on the circumstances of the case and the facts proven during the trial”

In other words, there will not be any technicalities to get you off in civil court!

Poland Embraces Street Racing

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