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Behind the Wheel - Traffic Safety Perspectives

I am blessed with readers who send me e-mail to suggest topics, share a story or even a bit of humour. It's the humour that triggered this column, specifically a photo of people from a third world country packed into a vehicle in a manner that would be totally unacceptable today in British Columbia.

I don't have to dig too far in my own memory to recall when we used to load the back of my father's pickup with the neighbourhood kids and set off on an adventure. I can remember standing up in the box of the truck holding onto the headache rack behind the cab and trying to see ahead into that 80 km/h wind. Of course, I would never think of doing that today, mainly because of the collision scenes that I have investigated in my traffic enforcement career. It's just too easy to contemplate what might happen.

Do we feel a sense of superiority when we compare ourselves to the people in this e-mail picture? There is no doubt in my mind that more than some of us feel exactly this way. There should be a law to protect these crazy people from themselves! Clearly they can't make the right decision on their own.

Whoa! Time to look in the mirror fellow British Columbians. We have quite a collection of traffic laws, don't we? 10 over the limit is not a problem, following closely enough to read the fine print on the license plate validation decal gets us there a few seconds sooner and rolling through a stop sign or hesitating slightly before turning right at a red light are only a few of the common ways we flout them. Who should laugh at whom?

It would be nice if I could look back at today from twenty years in the future and find a culture where drivers are safety oriented and taking liberties with all the driving conventions was frowned on. Will it happen? That all depends on how you and I choose to behave and the way we pass that thought on to our children.

www.drivesmartbc.ca/viewpoint/traffic-safety-perspectives

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