July 9, 2012
Flaggers still looking for answers about traffic fines
The B.C. Flaggers Association claims they are getting the run around from two provincial government ministries after advocating for fines to be doubled for drivers caught speeding in construction zones.
“We are being told by the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General, Shirley Bond, that she is not changing the law to double the fine for speeding in construction zones,” said Tammy Sampson, co-founder of the B.C. Flagging Association and director of operations with BCRS Road Safe Inc.
“She said this is up to the policing authority and she can’t interfere. However, the policing authority can only impose fines for violations of the Motor Vehicle Act. She is giving us the run around.”
For almost a year, the association has been asking the provincial government for help in improving safety for traffic control people by putting a law in place that would double the fine for speeding in a construction zone.
Bond has also advised Sampson that the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has the responsibility for changing the fine structure in construction zones.
“The provincial government provides overall direction respecting police services in the province and ensures there are adequate and effective levels of policing,” said Bond in a letter to Sampson dated July 3.
“Police agencies conduct individual investigations at arm’s length from government, and we cannot interfere with or direct police in particular investigations. This includes the enforcement of speeding infractions and penalties related to disobeying a flagger’s directions in construction zones, as contained in the Motor Vehicle Act,” she said.
After providing this explanation, Bond forwarded Sampson’s email to Superintendent Denis Boucher, who is the officer in charge of RCMP “E” Division Traffic Services.
This is not the first time that the B.C. Flaggers Association has found it difficult to get a straight answer about their safety concerns from the provincial government.
In May, Diane Herback, director and co-founder of the B.C. Flagging Association sent an e-mail to the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Blair Lekstrom.
He advised them that the enforcement of construction speed zones falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Public Safety and Solicitor General.
As a result, Lekstrom forwarded Herback’s email to Bond.
As a result of this circular exchange of emails with these two provincial ministries, the B.C. Flaggers Association is still not able to determine who is responsible for changing the laws.
“This is really frustrating for us,” said Herback.
“Is it really that difficult for the government to find out who is responsible for this? We don’t need a big song and dance for a ministry to say who is responsible. We are not being heard and it seems as though they don’t even care.”
Traffic signs across B.C. and the Ministry of Transportation website state that fines are more than double for drivers who ignore flaggers and speed through construction zones.
However, a quick look at RCMP’s penalties for speeding in construction zones reveals that this is not true.
Currently, a regular speeding ticket will cost a driver $138.
The Burnaby RCMP have advised the public that fines for speeding in a construction zone are:
• Section 140 MVA (speed less than 21 kilometres over the limit) $196.00
• Section 140MVA (21 kilometres to 40 kilometres over speed limit) $253.00
The jump in the fine from $138 to $196 represents a 42 per cent increase.
The fine would be $276, if the fines were actually doubled.
The fines for speeds more than 40 kilometres over the speed limit increase to a maximum of $483 and include seven day vehicle impoundment.
The penalty for failing to obey a flag person is $196 and/or $368 for driving without due care and attention.
The provincial safety campaigns were put into place, even though the RCMP have never had the authority to issue a ticket with double the fine.
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