EDITORIAL: Few consequences for bad drivers

West Shore motorists are pushing the limits of the road

Drive West Shore roads long enough and you’re bound to witness some bizarre driving habits. Most of us have seen drivers push the limits of amber traffic lights, or venture through an intersection on a full red.

West Shore motorists are getting a bit of a reputation in the region for driving all over the rules of the road and it’s something that causes us to pause and ponder why. While we’d like to think some of the outrageous tales we hear were fabricated on a bar stool, the number of complaints and observations we receive from community members makes it hard to ignore the stories about speeding, red-light runners and other dangerous driving behaviours. It’s something we’ve even witnessed first hand.

Countless traffic stories have found their way onto our pages over the years, but we’ve wondered whether this blatant disregard is due to a lack of obvious consequences. West Shore RCMP has been operating without a dedicated traffic unit in recent times and residents have started to take note of that fact.

While the local detachment does targeted enforcement on distracted or impaired driving and rotates officers through school and playground zones, targeted intersection enforcement appears not to be high on their priority list. While local police are supported by the Capital Region Integrated Road Safety Unit on traffic issues, and many dedicated volunteers work hard to reduce speeding in busy pedestrian areas, some drivers still operate on the premise there will be no consequence for running that red light or speeding through a quiet residential neighbourhood. And they are probably right. They’re more likely not to receive a ticket for their actions, but that doesn’t justify risking the lives of others on our roadways.

We don’t blame the RCMP. Many factors affect staffing decisions – we suspect most are made in Ottawa. But it’s time for the local detachment to join forces with the five municipalities and Songhees First Nation they serve and protect to make a stronger stance against our area’s ever-increasing bad driving habits. The fines levied on the tickets that could be written might even cover the cost of reinstating a traffic unit.