Wrong Approach

Ontario drivers get ready for 'tremendous' fine increases
Ontario will ring in the new year with hefty new punishments for several traffic infractions, including a $2,000 ticket the first time you follow a fire truck too closely and a possible prison sentence the second time.

Drivers caught violating a range of traffic laws will soon face licence suspensions, demerit points and fines that are double — and even quadruple — what they are now.
Yeah yeah, this won't work.

The cops even admit it:
Windsor police Sgt. Steve Bodri said he hopes the province's new measures for bad drivers have an effect, because little else has.

"In the new year, we're going to start some campaigns to target aggressive driving," he said. "If it requires writing more tickets, then we will."
I noted this back a few years when the local police when through a phase designating some areas as "Community Safety Zones". And in those "Safety Zones", fines for traffic infractions were doubled.

I observed that merely doubling fines wouldn't do anything to act as a deterrent. Let's face it, the province could raise the penalty to be summary road-side execution, and it wouldn't be a deterrent if there continued to be NO POLICE OFFICERS AROUND TO CATCH THE OFFENDERS.

More regulation, more fines, and no more cops does exactly nothing except possibly punish the people who were going to get caught anyways -- and if the penalties for infringement goes up, there's more incentive for the police officers to exercise "discretion" and just issue warnings instead. Meaning that more regulations, more fines equals less deterrence.

Here's an idea. Streamline the Highway and Traffic Act so that it is actually possible for the average driver to know what it is all about and comply with it all. Reduce the fines to administrivia, but keep the points. Double the police officers. Remove their power of road-side discretion. Watch the people who get caught start to accumulate points and losing their licenses -- just as the system was designed. Watch other people take notice of this. Watch the compliance level increase.

Of course, putting more cops on the roads would cost money and be unpopular in a society where crime is actually falling. So it will never happen.

Instead, the politicians will continue to pass new and exciting laws and fines which will do exactly nothing except make them look like they are doing something.