Friday, September 05, 2008

Street Racing

Just to be clear here: street racing is when people in two or more cars race each other on public streets. It has a clear meaning and is not a generic term for speeding.

A couple of years ago the federal Tories started a propaganda campaign about street racing. I had never had any direct knowledge of street racing so was a little dubious that it was such a major cause of concern, but I thought, well what do I know. The only thing that really bothered me was a suspicion that street racing was being used to justify the Tory desire to imprison more youth.

Well now the new laws against street racing are in force and people are being charged. Last week I read an article about a 52-year old woman who was driving on a hiway near Guelph in the middle of the day, and was clocked at 130-something km in an 80 zone. Today the Star has an article about a mom in Toronto going to pick up her son for daycare, driving 101 in a 50 zone at 8:30 in the morning. Both women were charged with street racing.

Now, I make no apologies for either infraction. Both drivers were endangering lives and should be charged. But... street racing?

This is the most inept, inaccurate description of an infringement I have ever heard of. And it seems to be done on purpose. Harper manufactured a bogeyman problem; he created a law that charges unrelated crimes as if they were caused by this problem; and then, presumably, he will be able to point to statistics showing that he has taken action on the problem.

And as an aside, I'm not sure what happened to "dangerous driving" charges. It used to be that if you exceeded the speed limit by a certain amount you were charged with dangerous driving. Now do we have three levels: (1) speeding (2) dangerous driving and (3) street racing? That's like this great burrito place I used to go to. You could get your burrito mild, medium, hot, extra hot, or "tender moments".

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1 comment:

escapegoat said...

Dangerous driving is criminal, and has "reasonable doubt" standard of proof. On the other hand, HTA offences are administrative and are absoute liablity offenses.

This law was put in, after much lobbying, because it's really hard to get a dangerous driving conviction.

Of course, once the wrong person with deep pockets has their car taken away for "street racing" then you might see some challenges to this silly law.