Open letter to Highways Minister Scott Kent:
What is the difference between life and death? According to our archaic Motor Vehicles Act, it’s $25.
This month, the Yukon coroner made recommendations regarding the death of a pedestrian in February 2014. The pedestrian, William Lagimodiere, was struck while crossing Fourth Avenue in Whitehorse at a pedestrian crosswalk. These recommendations included the addition of overhead lighting at the crosswalk.
With or without overhead lighting, would Mr. Lagimodiere have lost his life if the vehicle had been moving just 10 kilometres less per hour?
Studies carried out throughout the 1990s in the U.S, Australia and England determined that a difference in speed of as little as 10 to 13 km/hr over 50 km/hr increase the likelihood of pedestrian death from a 30 per cent chance to an 80 per cent chance.
However, drivers who are ticketed for exceeding the posted speed limit by up to 15 km/hr in Yukon will be fined a mere $25, the cost of a parking ticket in the City of Whitehorse.
Our research indicates that Yukon has the lowest speeding fines in Canada. What kind of deterrent does this system of fines make to those who exceed the speed limit? According to the RCMP, who are tasked with enforcing limits, offenders consider it laughable.
The Traffic Safety Society of Yukon urges the minister to revisit the Motor Vehicles Act by changing all current penalties for speeding so as to create significant deterrents. While no fine can replace a lost life or compensate for a serious injury, we can at least use what laws we have to cause people to reflect and ease off the on the gas pedal.
Not another life should be lost, simply from trying to get from one side of the street to the other. TSSY calls on all drivers to respect the posted limits, and remember that every life is priceless.
Director, Traffic Safety
Society of Yukon