Based on my interruption of the speeding section, of the Ontario highway traffic act; it seems to be very cut and dry that the school zone is not as serious. And that harsher penalties should be handed out on places like expressways or highways.
This is based on a simple theory that Quebec uses for speeding tickets. Each zone is different and speed penalties should be measured by a sliding scale not by actual kilometer readings. We seem to think that 70 in a safe 50 zone is normal, but 130 in a 100 zone isn't. In reality, both of these speeds would be equivalent under the assumption that going 30% over, is just as dangerous in both locations with clear and dry roads.
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Penalty (14) Every person who contravenes this section or any by-law or regulation made under this section is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable, where the rate of speed at which the motor vehicle was driven, (a) is less than 20 kilometres per hour over the speed limit, to a fine of $3 for each kilometre per hour that the motor vehicle was driven over the speed limit; (b) is 20 kilometres per hour or more but less than 30 kilometres per hour over the speed limit, to a fine of $4.50 for each kilometre per hour that the motor vehicle was driven over the speed limit; (c) is 30 kilometres per hour or more but less than 50 kilometres per hour over the speed limit, to a fine of $7 for each kilometre per hour that the motor vehicle was driven over the speed limit; and (d) is 50 kilometres per hour or more over the speed limit, to a fine of $9.75 for each kilometre per hour that the motor vehicle was driven over the speed limit. 2005, c. 26, Sched. A, s. 17 (7).
Section 214 (community safety zones) of the Highway Traffic Act generally doubles the fines for traffic offences committed in community safety zones, including speeding.
So, I wouldn't necessarily say the Highway Traffic Act is set out that school zones are not as serious.
Highway driving makes it easier for drivers to speed because it's open and the difference between 100km/h and 120km/h doesn't seem as significant as 40km/h and 60km/h. In some European countries, there is no speed limit on highways and it's actually been shown to be safer with reduced number of collisions (they're also testing out higher speed limits [120km/h] in British Columbia, and Ontario is watching closely at the BC results)
Meanwhile, on city streets, there's stop lights and stop signs, there's traffic, there's pedestrians.
So I would argue that it's more dangerous to speed on city streets, especially school zones, and hence the placement of community safety zones.
In 2013 (newest data I can find), the OPP alone got 1,184,219 convictions of which 654,036 were speeding convictions, so speeding accounts for more than 50% of charges and therefore should be spelled $$$peeding.
http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/public ... t-2013.pdf
+++ This is not legal advice, only my opinion +++
Former Ontario Police Officer. Advice will become less relevant as the time goes by !
It is only when a municipality enacts a by-law to adjust the maximum rate of speed, this is when most municipalities would conduct traffic studies and investigations to determine what the appropriate speed is for the area, considering factors such as community concerns, the surrounding area (i.e. schools, commercial centres, residential areas), curves and slopes in the road, traffic volumes, traffic signals, etc. If there is any speed limit that is not 50km/h or 80km/h, a by-law has been enacted and a traffic study or investigation has likely been conducted to enact it, and in that case, the speed limit is not arbitrary. But 50 and 80 default does seem to be arbitrary on the face of it.
In Ontario, the maximum rate of speed can be adjusted as long as it does not exceed 100km/h. This number also seems to be arbitrarily set. I'm sure there have been countless studies to justify why Ontario (and Canada) sets it at this limit, but Ontario (and Canada) has some of the lowest speed limits anywhere in the world and there's no evidence to suggest that it makes our highways any safer. CBC Marketplace actually looked into this: http://www.cbc.ca/marketplace/episodes/ ... ster-safer
But in terms of artificially low speed limits, there doesn't seem to be any recourse in Ontario as there is in the United States. In some jurisdictions in the U.S., you can have a speeding charge dropped if an engineering study shows that the speed limit is artificially low. Where I live in Markham, you can request to have a speed limit to be re-evaluated on a street, but I'm not sure how successful that would be if you bring it to court (luckily I haven't had to test this yet)
Side note to jsherk's point: In York Region, the police do not issue any tickets for anything 1-10km/h over the speed limit. I'm not sure about other jurisdictions.
Also, I think you'll find these Provincial Offences court statistics interesting: http://www.ontariocourts.ca/ocj/files/s ... tatute.pdf
Speeding does have the highest number of charges (559,013 in 2016), but that is the nature of the job of the police officer. It's difficult for the officer to give out the vast majority of the other charges unless s/he explicitly observes you committing the offence while s/he is driving around on patrol.
Some of the other popular Provincial Offences charges:
- s. 144 Red light - proceed before green (127,386)
- s. 7 Drive motor vehicle, no currently validated permit (117,470)
- Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act (114,516)
- s. 136 Disobey stop sign - fail to stop (51,263)
- s. 78.1 Drive - hand-held communication device (51,210)
- Municipal by-laws [i.e. parking, signs] (46,878)
Here are the FINE amounts that go along with those stats:
http://www.ontariocourts.ca/ocj/files/s ... -Fines.pdf
+++ This is not legal advice, only my opinion +++
As it's been mentioned earlier in the thread, we do not set the speed limit based on engineering facts, it's decided by a bunch of politicians. Some times it is to please the nagging group and get their vote and some times it is a simple money grab.
Here is an example, Danforth Ave. over the DVP bridge, there is absolutely nothing there, no store front, no cross walk and a long stretch of wide street, speed limit 40 Km/h. A perfect speed trap, I am not sure when the speed limit was changed in this section of the road from 50 to 40, as I was driving home the other day I saw the speed limit and thought to myself this is a money grab zone, sure enough 150 meters down the road a car was pulled over by an officer enforcing the speed limit.
Now let's look at HWY 7 in Markham, between Kennedy and McCowan, ton of stores and other traffic, speed limit 70 Km/h. Really? And then it drops to 50 east of McCowan, why? No reason...
HWY 7 speed limit goes up and down like a yoyo in Markham and if you are not keeping up with the change you are asking for trouble.
If the speed limit was set by either city planning engineers or the police department based on what the road can actually handle, then things would be much better.
We continue to complain about traffic and how congested it is, but rather than use engineering solutions and technology to improve flow, we simply reduce speed limit and put up more obstacles to slow down traffic movement.
Downtown intersections with criss cross pedestrian crossings, great idea, but they forgot about motorist... Once the light changes, the pedestrians continue to cross the street like an ordinary intersection, this prevents the cars from making a right turn, as a result the right lane is taken out by cars trying to make a turn. But if the pedestrians were blocked and cars were allowed to make right turns, this would improve traffic flow and speed traffic through the intersection.
In Germany bicycles do not ride on the road, they share the side walk with pedestrians, there is clear marking showing which side is for bikes and which side for pedestrians. Off course I was not used to this and always walked on the wrong side like an idiot and they had to ring their bell, telling me to get out of their way...