Originally published as a column on CFJC Today Kamloops and Armchair Mayor News on August 19, 2019.

It makes me think of a game of peek-a-boo every time I see it. A police officer with a radar gun hides behind a tree or an object big enough to hide his or her presence. If you ask me, that’s money well spent given the number of drivers speeding.

Speeding may seem like a good solution when running late ‘just this one time’, but it is never worth the risk of causing a crash and possibly taking someone’s life. Let’s not kid ourselves though. It’s not just someone running late. One too many drivers love speeding, whether in town or outside of it (construction zones included!) and as a result… may God help the rest of people engaged in traffic, pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers too.

Some Kamloops roads that see a lot of traffic, hence a lot of speeding, such as Summit Drive and Pacific Way, have the speed displays that blink when you exceed the limit. It’s a reminder for those who care and another thing to ignore for those who don’t. Would more fines (and increasing with each new offense) deliver the message?

This is not about wishing bad upon drivers; it’s about wishing for safety. Speed can kill and it’s irresponsible to keep doing it just because one can get away with it. Some countries in Europe have traffic cameras that provide the speeding drivers with irrevocable evidence of their fast driving where they should not have. Imagine having a few of those peppered all over the province.

Impaired driving is another growing problem. You may have read about the crash caused by a young woman in London, Ontario, who destroyed multiple homes, sent at least 7 people to the hospital, and caused almost 100 homes to be evacuated. Luckily, no one was killed but the scale of the destruction is stunning. She was driving impaired.

Unfortunately, there is no shortage of related news in British Columbia either. The Vancouver Police Department took 360 impaired drivers off the roads this summer, which is approximately 100 more than last year.

An impaired driver coming from the Shambhala Music Festival in the Kootenays crossed the double yellow lines and hit a camper, causing it to roll and catch on fire. A 4-year-old girl lost her life. Sadly, this impaired driver was one that did not get caught by the road checks. The police reported 18 impaired drivers following the festival, and 133 speeding drivers, 26 of whom were driving 40 kilometers over the speed limit.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), impaired drivers causes the death of up to 4 Canadians are killed every day, on average. Hundreds more are injured, and many of those injuries require long-term or life-long treatment. That is before considering the psychological trauma that goes along with it.

I wrote about this topic before and so have others. It is impossible to think that anyone getting behind the wheel does not know right from wrong. And yet…tragedies keep happening and lives are changed in sad, unimaginable ways because someone chose to drive over the speed limit, impaired or distracted.

The same goes for other vehicles, be it on land or on water. A recent crash of two jet-skis in Lake Country had no tragic consequences, but one of the operators was discovered to have twice the legal alcohol limit. Speed is another concern in boats too. If you head down to Pioneer Park on a sunny day, you will see lots of dogs playing in the water, kids too. Depending on the day, you might see jet-skis going at high speed right in front of the beach, doing tricks and jumping. Some operators wear life jackets, some don’t.

If you are on the water, whether in a motorized vehicle or otherwise, please wear one. As for floating down the river in inflatable rafts… People do it, and many without life jackets. The river is not a pool, and should anything happen, some good Samaritan will likely attempt to save you, which means that more lives will be put at risk. People can die saving people, which is what happened recently in the Lower Mainland.

Please do not speed or use your phone while driving; do drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or tired. Do not become a statistic and do not make someone else one either. Laws, road checks and harsh punishments can take care of some of this all, but that’s only part of it. The rest is up to each of us.