Fines not the solution for breaking traffic laws

Fines are no deterrent to the irresponsible.

Fines not the solution for breaking traffic laws

The solution to the growing problem of serious traffic accidents, exacerbated in recent years by distracted driving, is simple, if challenging.

The current approach touted by timid politicians is to increase fines, as if that did any good at all. What it fails to address is that the small minority of irresponsible drivers continue to drive and continue to endanger the vast majority of responsible citizens, as well as themselves.

Fines are no deterrent to the irresponsible. To those on limited incomes, they are a burden but a tolerable one, a fee that must be paid to enable their dangerous ways. To the affluent they are no deterrent at all, merely a charge to the credit card or an email to the accountant.

What is needed, of course, is to get these people off the road. The reason politicians prefer fines for driving infractions is that, while appearing to deal with the problem, they inconvenience no one.

Suspension of licences can be graduated with, say, three months for a first minor infraction, six months for a second and a year or more for a third. Serious accidents must be treated accordingly, with lifetime bans an option.

Driving is not a right but a privilege, one that must be earned and maintained. If loss of licence is a problem for the offender, that must be weighed against the danger to society. The risk of allowing irresponsible drivers to continue to pursue their dangerous, even deadly, lifestyle is far too high to be tolerated.

For those who think prohibition is too severe, let’s remember this is a matter of life and death.

Tom Masters

Chemainus

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