Editorial: Speed cameras would slow people down on the Malahat

When we say strong support, in this case we mean 70 per cent in favour

A survey in the Capital Regional District has shown strong support for the installation of speed cameras on the Malahat highway.

When we say strong support, in this case we mean 70 per cent in favour, which is pretty impressive.

So what do we mean by speed cameras? Take a stretch of road. Set up a camera to snap a photo of the licence plate of a vehicle at the beginning, and another at the end. If someone is obeying the speed limit it will take a pre-determined amount of time for them to make the journey from one end to the other. If they are considerably short of that time, they’ve been exceeding the speed limit and can be ticketed for that offence.

We imagine there would be a little bit of grace built into such a system if it was to be implemented, so that if you were, say, going five kilometres per hour over the speed limit for the journey you wouldn’t be facing a fine. Police and RCMP already do that when out on the road doing traffic enforcement.

Many argued, even as the multi-million dollar road widening and centre barriers were going in, that the road configuration itself wasn’t the biggest danger on the Malahat, it is the drivers. It’s not a fun road to take in the dark, in poor conditions such as heavy rain, fog and snow. Yet far too many drivers don’t seem to vary their speed for the conditions, continuing to barrel ahead, well in excess of the speed limit, no matter how poor visibility is and how unlikely it is they’d be able to stop in an emergency.

And in spite of improvements, Goldstream Park remains a bottleneck.

So would blanket, constant speed enforcement solve the still-remaining problems on the Malahat highway?

Right now, the usual speed limit signs, plus the “your speed” electronic reader boards are not significantly slowing down the speedsters. If they know they will get a ticket between here and there, we have to think they will take it down a notch out of pure financial self-interest.

In short, it couldn’t hurt.

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