Letters to the Editor

Make them really pay

Deas Island RCMP Sgt. Evan Albert – at a South Surrey impound lot – surveys luxury cars seized last week following allegations of street racing on Highway 99. - Tracy Holmes photo
Deas Island RCMP Sgt. Evan Albert – at a South Surrey impound lot – surveys luxury cars seized last week following allegations of street racing on Highway 99.
— image credit: Tracy Holmes photo

Editor:

Re: Luxury-vehicle racers face $196 fines, Sept. 6.

Wow, I thought rock stars and drug dealers were the only ones able to afford these cars, but I guess this is a sign of the times.

There must be a lot of affluent people living in Vancouver, and it seems pointless to slap a $200 fine on the culprits. This is just pocket change to them; it certainly won’t teach them a lesson.

The police say there would have been stiffer fines for the offenders had they been caught on video. Ironically, there are hundreds of video pictures of looters and rioters from the Stanley Cup riot and only two have been officially charged thus far. In the U.K., there has been no problem charging looters and dealing with them efficiently.

If these road racers had been caught in the U.S., you bet there would be hell to pay. What’s wrong with our system? Maybe it needs to catch up to the changing times.

D. Barros, White Rock

• • •

A set fine – for example, $196 for driving without due consideration for others – hurts poor people, while it is not even noticed by the wealthy.

I think I have a more equitable formula for punishing drivers for stupid, dangerous behaviour.

Make the fine a percentage of the Black Book value of the vehicle involved in the violation.

I believe that the vast majority of vehicle owners buy a vehicle based on their income or net worth – a rich person buys an expensive vehicle, while a person of modest means buys a considerably less expensive vehicle.

If, for example, you are caught using a hand-held mobile device while driving, it would cost you, say, two per cent of the value of your vehicle, which means the driver of an old beater might end up paying $100, while someone driving a new, high-end vehicle might pay $3,000.

A drunk driver would lose 10 per cent for a first offence, doubling each time.

If you are caught running a red light, you might pay 15 per cent. Speeding could be on a sliding scale – if you are caught doing 10 to 19 kilometers per hour over the posted limit, you would pay one per cent, 20 to 29 km/h over the limit would net you a two per cent fine, and so on.

Fleeing the scene of an accident and attempting to evade police would result in a 100 per cent fine.

If your infraction is the cause of an accident, the fine could double the percentage. Injuries to other parties would triple the percentage, and deaths would quintuple it.

This would make the fines levied equally painful to all economic groups.

All of the above is just speculative, and would have to be finely tuned by a panel of police officers, lawyers, judges and legislators, with input from the public.

Jerry Steinberg, Surrey

 

 

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