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A good idea to help cut down on road-racing

There’s been a lot in the news lately about road-racing, and rightly so, with deaths occurring due to speedsters who think that Ontario highways are their version of a Formula One racetrack.

Photo radar has become a topic again about whether or not to re-introduce it to help curb road-racing, but as Jim points out, Mcguinty has rejected that notion (though Jim seems skeptical of that promise) . I will say I don’t see photo radar as being the way to stop road racing – all photo radar does is take a picture of your license plate and records the speed of the car, and the registered owner of that license plate gets mailed a fine. That is hardly going to be a deterrent to street racers.

What I like as a proposal is the one that a Star editorial highlighted today – electronic speed limiters:

Ontario Transportation Minister Donna Cansfield has announced that the government is imposing new regulations requiring large commercial vehicles to use electronic speed limiters, rendering them incapable of travelling faster than 105 km/h. A speed-limiting microchip has apparently been built into all transport trucks manufactured in recent years and can be activated when trucking companies want to cap the speed of their vehicles, usually to preserve fuel. The new Ontario rules would make activation mandatory in order to improve road safety and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This raises an interesting question – why shouldn’t tamper-proof speed limiters be required equipment on cars, vans, light trucks and other vehicles as well? Enforcing speed limits in this way would not only reduce accidents but would cut highway emissions. It would make high-speed street racing extremely difficult, too.

Now that’s an idea I can get behind. I see no reason for vehicles – other then police, emergency vehicles and military vehicles – to be capable of reaching excessive speeds of 80 km/hr+ over the speed limit. I think a requirement that all new vehicles be equipped with such technology is a worthwhile thing to be advocating and bringing in.


8 comments to A good idea to help cut down on road-racing

  • Slg

    Take their licences away for 10 years or something like that.  A lot cheaper too.

  • mushroom

    My solution to cut down on road-racing.

    More drag racing strips in Ontario.

    I believe that all Conservative MPs in Harpie's caucus should propose to build a strip in their own constituency.  At the same time, Con MPs should be prepare to provide sessions promoting safe driving and use drag racing as a means to help disaffected youth.

    If there is a decline in road racing as a result of this policy, I could not care less if the Cons spray party decals all over the track.  

  • KC

    I dont quite see your reasoning as to why photo radar wouldnt act as a deterrent.   It seems to me that knowing that if you speed you will get a ticket in the mail will at least have some deterrent fact.   Policies do not have to be complete deterrent (ie stop EVERYONE) before they should be implemented.  If the deterrent effect outweighs the cost then–barring further arguments–I see no reason not to proceed.

    I also think the focus on speed is only one dimension in making Highways in Ontario safer.   If Ontario drivers have a problem its a tailgating problem perhaps even more so than a speeding problem.  I hate to generalize but I think my time living in Ontario and other parts of the country equips me to do at least in this narrow respect–Ontario drivers tailgate WAY too much.  I sometimes think they dont realize they are doing it but they are it it just as dangerous as speeding.    I was absolutely terrified during some of the rides I took while driving with Ontario drivers.

    If Ontario is going to mandate the installation of anything in vehicles it should be a device to warn or prevent a driver from following too closely.   

  • Jim said:

    [quote comment=”5533″] The biggest problem is street racers are seemingly apathetic to the damage and tragedy they cause.? They know it could kill someone, they don’t care. Street racers are only concerned about their cars and their street image. [/quote]

    Well… if we use that rationale.. then there’s no point installing photo radar or toughening up sentencing or anything, since they don’t probably care about those other things either.
    [quote]I would argue that people will street race at the speed limited speed even if there were speed limiters everywhere.? Would they cause less damage at 120 kph than at 200 kph?? I don’t know – I’m not really a physicist :-).[/quote]
    Maybe not less damage.. but you can get far more reckless and far more likely to spin or go out of control at 200 km/hr as opposed to 105 or 120 or whatever you set the maximum speed at.

  • Nice post.

    Glenn Fitzgerald

  • Jim

    No technology is truly tamper-proof; the editorial simply suggests "why shouldn't tamper-proof speed limiters be installed".   That said, let's assume they are tamper-proof.

    A tamper-proof speed limiter would likely stop retail cars from speeding.  There are problems, though:

    – It will be one limited speed – meaning I can still do 100 in a school zone.
    – If I custom build my own car from scratch, I don't have to install a speed limiter.
    – If I buy a car manufactured for sale in another jurisdiction, I don't have to install a speed limiter.
    – If I drive my speed limited car to a jurisdiction with a higher speed limit (North Carolina's speed limit in parts is 70 mph or about 115 kph), I will not be able to adjust my speed accordingly.  What maximum do you set?

    The biggest problem is street racers are seemingly apathetic to the damage and tragedy they cause.  They know it could kill someone, they don't care.  Street racers are only concerned about their cars and their street image.

    I would argue that people will street race at the speed limited speed even if there were speed limiters everywhere.  Would they cause less damage at 120 kph than at 200 kph?  I don't know – I'm not really a physicist :-).  Bottom line, these racers are going to race.  Putting a limiter in a Tercel isn't going to stop them.

    That all said, I think the general speed limiter is not necessarily a bad idea – it would just take a lot more ironing out.

  • The Star must have good reason for calling them tamper-proof.. obviously its felt it would be very difficult to defeat the technology.

    If you have a better solution, Joseph, present it.

  • I can think of a good reason: anyone interested in driving at that speed would most likely be able to find a quick and easy workaround for the technology. Big rig drivers do not own their trucks; they are regularly inspected and move from driver to driver… Why would anyone who is willing to spend thousands of dollars on dangerous and often illegal hardware not disable such a feature?

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