Reporting Air Pollution from Vehicles

Smoking ExhaustA visitor to the site has asked the following: “I have seen a few trucks driving around residential areas that are really polluting. I wanted to report them somewhere with the hope of them getting a notice or something to hopefully look after this issue. I cannot find a phone number or an email where this can be done. Do you know how can I report this truck?” It’s a great question as vehicles like this affect the air that you and I breathe. We should have some method to deal with problem vehicles that we encounter in our day to day life.

The primary responsibility for enforcement in situations like this one falls to the police and Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement (CVSE). The RCMP seems to discourage any reporting by e-mail but will accept reports by telephone and in person. CVSE appears to accept complaints by e-mail and telephone only. With the municipal police forces, you may be able to use all three methods of contact. If you intend to complain to police, contact the department having jurisdiction for the area where you make your observations.

One would expect that the Ministry of the Environment would have a stake in this too. Their web site does mention reporting violators of environmental laws but a call to their report line directed me to visit the BC Air Quality web site, which in turn pointed me right back to the reporting line that I had called. Regardless, the person I spoke with advised me that the Ministry of the Environment did not accept complaints about excessive vehicle exhaust.

On the bright side, there is a carrot to go with the stick. The Scrap It Program provides incentives to purchase a 2008 or newer vehicle to replace an older vehicle. In fact, if simply scrap an older vehicle you can receive credits on bicycles, transit passes, or car sharing programs. If none of these are interesting, you can receive $200 cash instead.

Reference Links:

Introducing Variable Speed Signs in BC

Variable Speed SignThe choice of a safe travel speed depending on the driving environment can be as varied as the number of drivers on the highway. I can recall responding to an injury crash on a icy divided highway where both the ambulance and I were using the left lane and all emergency warning equipment. Even with the urgency of the situation, travelling at 95 in the posted 110 km/h zone seemed to be appropriate to both of us. This was clearly not the case for other drivers as we were passed a number of times by vehicles using the right hand lane.

2016 will see the first introduction of variable speed limits (VSL) on highways in British Columbia. Slated for implementation segments of the Sea to Sky, Coquihalla and Trans Canada highways, the speed limit will be shown on electronic speed signs that can be changed remotely based on existing weather conditions. Data for the changes will be gathered through pavement and visibility sensors installed in these highway segments. Operations staff with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure will use the data to change the speed limit displayed to one that is appropriate for safety.

Experience with VSL elsewhere indicates that it is generally well received by drivers and results in a safety improvement. VSL are especially effective if variable message signs indicate why the change has occurred. One drawback appears to be a tendency to create greater speed variance between vehicles. Another issue is that to remain effective, speed enforcement needs to be sufficient to maintain compliance.

Perhaps highway segments with VSL would be an ideal opportunity to introduce time over distance automated speed enforcement as well. The danger presented by conventional enforcement methods increases as VSL decrease. Automated enforcement could increase compliance and maintain uniformity in application without increasing risk.

 

Reference Links:

Cst. Tim Schewe (Ret.) runs DriveSmartBC, a community web site about traffic safety in British Columbia. For 25 years he was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including five years on general duty, 20 in traffic and 10 as a collision analyst responsible of conducting technical investigations of collisions. He retired from policing in 2006 but continues to be active in traffic safety through the DriveSmartBC web site, teaching seminars and contributing content to newspapers and web sites.

DriveSmartBC: Avoiding Penalty Points

One of the recurring themes in the DriveSmartBC Discussion Forum involves avoiding penalty points after a driver has received a traffic ticket for committing a hazardous moving violation. Often the driver realizes that they have erred and are willing to pay the fine but want to avoid having penalty points assessed for the transgression. Avoiding penalty points is particularly important to drivers in the Graduated Licencing program who will be prohibited from driving at a low point threshold, but professional drivers and those with a poor driving record are also concerned.

Penalty points are essentially a score keeping method for assigning the level of risk associated with a hazardous moving violation. Disobeying a red light at an intersection is 2 points, speeding is 3 points, careless driving is 6 points and impaired driving is 10 points for example. ICBC and RoadSafetyBC use the penalty point total associated to a driving record to assess penalty point premiums or to impress driving prohibitions, the total cost or length of which depends on the number of penalty points accumulated during a period of time.

To state the obvious, the best way to avoid penalty points is not to be the recipient of a violation ticket in the first place. However, once you have a traffic ticket in hand, there are really only two ways to avoid penalty points. The first is to try and convince the officer who issued it to you to withdraw it and the second is to have the ticket dismissed in court. Once convicted, either through paying the penalty or having been found guilty at trial penalty points will be assessed. The justice cannot impose a fine but reduce or eliminate penalty points.

One other alternative is to agree to a plea bargain with the officer prior to your ticket dispute hearing. An example of this might be if you were charged with careless driving (which carries a fine of $368 and 6 points) you may be able to convince the officer to accept a guilty plea to an included offence with a higher fine and fewer points. Some officers are not comfortable with doing this, but there is no harm in trying.

Reference Links:

Cst. Tim Schewe (Ret.) runs DriveSmartBC, a community web site about traffic safety in British Columbia. For 25 years he was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including five years on general duty, 20 in traffic and 10 as a collision analyst responsible of conducting technical investigations of collisions. He retired from policing in 2006 but continues to be active in traffic safety through the DriveSmartBC web site, teaching seminars and contributing content to newspapers and web sites.

“Like” us on Facebook | Follow us on Twitter | Sign up for our free daily insurance Newsletter

Vehicle Impounded for Speed, but No Ticket Issued

Source: drivesmartbc.ca

Posted by Anonymous: I was pulled over on the night of October 18 for speeding . The office pulled me over after I had stopped to make a left turn onto my street . He approached me and asked me why I was driving like a maniac? I told him I shouldn’t have passed on the double solid line but the vehicle ahead of me was going dangerously slow. I then asked how fast I was going and he said he didn’t save it on his radar but another officer said he’d seen me on the freeway exit at a road in which I was not driving on that evening. I waited for the next officer to arrive and asked him the same question, “How fast was I going sir?” He replied with “Sir, the other officer clocked you doing a high rate of speed.” No actual speed was recorded. So, after all the back and forth, I admitted to crossing a double solid and asked if the fine could be lessened. I was handed an impoundment notice and told I was going to get a speeding ticket, which I was never issued.  My truck was towed to the local towing yard for 7 days with no speeding violation ticket attached. I am confused as to what is going on and if the officer is going to mail me a ticket or make me sign one in person.

Response:

Here is the law that applies to your situation:

Impoundment of motor vehicle

251  (1) If a peace officer has reasonable grounds to believe that a person

(d) has committed an offence under section 148,

(e) has driven or operated a motor vehicle on a highway in a race or in a stunt and the peace officer intends to charge the person with a motor vehicle related Criminal Code offence or an offence under section 144 (1), 146 or 148 of this Act, orthe peace officer or another peace officer must

(g) cause the motor vehicle to be taken to and impounded at a place directed by the peace officer…

Section 148 is the section for excessive speed that you are speaking of.

There is nothing in this law requiring that you receive a violation ticket for speeding before it can be invoked. The officer may choose to apply discretion about serving the ticket, but has no discretion at all when it comes to the impoundment. As soon as he has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that you are driving at excessive speed, the impoundment must take place.

Perhaps you will be lucky and not receive an excessive speeding ticket for this. Should you have been (or still could be) served with a ticket, having it dismissed in court will not automatically nullify the impoundment. You will have to do that by having the impoundment reviewed. Unfortunately this only applies to impoundments of more than 7 days, which this is not.

From your story, it appears that radar was used to measure your speed, just that the measurement was not shown to you, or the reading mentioned. Of course, your own speedometer should have been a good indication to you about how fast you were driving.

If you take the time to read the other speed related threads here in the forum, you will see that police may make estimations that are accepted by the court, that the officer is not obliged to show the radar to the violator, and that a clock or pace is a valid method of measuring speed.

Why do I need reflectors? I’ve got lights!

Read more

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from ILSTV

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest