Road sense

The Campbell administration doesn't just want to know if British Columbians think a photo radar system would be effective in reducing speed and crashes on the province's roads. Less than a week after a throne speech promise to introduce significant changes that will reduce dangerous driving and public safety, a government-hired polling firm is also asking a raft of other questions about those issues. And that suggests the government doesn't yet know those changes will be or is trying to figure out how to sell them. The following is a complete copy of those questions, which was obtained exclusively by Public Eye.

1. Do you have a valid B.C. driver's license?

2. Do you currently drive a vehicle or are learning to drive a vehicle?

3. Which of the following age groups do you fall into?

4. Are you currently driving under a learner's permit or a novice license?

5. How many years have you been driving?

6. About how many hours do you drive in an average week?

7. I'm now going to read you a list of driving behaviours and for each one please rate how much you think it contributes to serious crashes that causes injuries and deaths on B.C.'s roads. Use a scale from one to five where one means not a factor in causing serious crashes and five means a very big factor.

a) driving when over the legal alcohol limit;
b) speeding;
c) aggressive driving behaviours like unsafe passing or changing lanes or tailgating;
d) driving after having taken illegal drugs including marijuana;
e) running a red light or not stopping at a stop sign.

8. Driver distraction is also a growing concern for improving road safety. Again, for each of the following driving behaviours please rate how much you think it contributes to serious crashes on B.C.'s roads:

a) driving while talking on a handheld cell phone;
b) driving while talking on a handsfree cell phone;
c) driving while very tired, sleepy or fatigued;
d) driving after having taken either over-the-counter or prescription drugs that may cause drowsiness;
e) driving while adjusting the car's stereo or using other in-car electronics.

9. Using a scale from one to five where one meets not commitment and five means very committed, overall how committed do you think the police are to enforcing traffic laws.

10. In addition to the road safety priorities we have already discussed - for example, impaired driving - police enforce many other traffic violations. So please rank the following three issues from highest to lowest priority from a road safety perspective. And the three issues are: unsafe driving in poor weather conditions; smoking in vehicles when children under 16 are present; and aggressive commercial vehicle drivers.

11. Once again, please rank the following three issues from highest to lowest priority: responding to 911 calls; reporting dangerous drivers; getting traffic moving after a motor vehicle crash; and catching unlicensed and prohibited drivers.

12. Next, using a scale from one to five where one is not likely to be caught and five means very likely to be caught please rate the likelihood of being caught by the police by doing the following:

a) driving when over the legal alcohol limit;
b) driving after having taken illegal drugs including marijuana;
c) not wearing a seatbelt;
d) driving more than 20 kilometres over the speed limit;
e) running a red light; not stopping at a stop sign;
e) frequently lane changes or unsafe passing.

13. In the past three months have you seen police conduct traffic enforcement?

14. What kind of traffic enforcement where police conducting the last time you saw them?

15. In the past three months have you received a ticket from the police - not including parking tickets?

16. We want to know from respondents whether these programs have a positive impact on driving behaviour. From one to five where one means no impact on safe driving and five means significant impact, rate the following:

a) police road checks from impaired driving;
b) police traffic enforcement helicopters;
c) higher fines and more severe driver penalties;
d) targeted police traffic enforcement such as focusing on areas with high collisions or known problems;
e) red light cameras at intersections;
f) advertising and public education campaigns with road safety messages.

17. In answering the following questions, please remember that all responses are anonymous and are for research purposes only. On a scale from one to five where one means never and five means very often, how often have you done these things in the past month:

a) run a red light or not stopped at a stop sign;
b) driven a vehicle 20 kilometres over the posted speed limit;
c) driven a vehicle when you had consumed illegal drugs including marijuana;
d) driven without wearing a seatbelt;
e) driven a vehicle when you thought you might be over the legal alcohol limit.

18. The following questions just require true or false:

a) you must not talk on a handheld cell phone or use a handheld device to send text messages while driving;
b) you must reduce your speed below the posted speed limit in severe road or weather conditions;
c) children under age nine or short than four foot nine must be seated in booster seats in vehicles;
d) you must slow your vehicle down and move over when passing parked emergency vehicles that have their lights flashing;
e) you must not smoke in a vehicle when children under age 16 are present.

19. Now I'd like to ask a question about automated speed enforcement. It uses a camera to photograph vehicles travelling at dangerous speeds. The photos are then reviewed and violation notices are mailed to their vehicle owner. Overall, how effective would you say this type of system would be in reducing speed and crashes in B.C.? Would you say very effective, somewhat effective, somewhat ineffective or very ineffective?

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