Traffic report: Manitoba targets ‘high-risk’ drivers, super-speeders, and a $72,000 ticket

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Manitoba stars in this week’s roundup of traffic news, with proposed new crackdowns on dangerous drivers and a bevy of “super-speeders” (plus a drunk on a tractor).

Manitoba gets tough

Proposed changes to Manitoba’s Highway Traffic Act will make it easier than ever to get high-risk drivers off the road.

Tweaks to the current law mean authorities wouldn’t have to wait for a dangerous driving conviction, but could suspend a dangerous driver’s licence as soon as a charge is laid.

Provincial Justice Minister James Allum says he thinks the new law would remove “several hundred high-risk drivers" from provincial roads each year.

The idea is to more quickly flag high-risk drivers and either change their behaviour or get them off the road.

The law would allow charged drivers to appeal their license suspensions.

Don’t be surprised if this triggers some fierce opposition from drivers and lawyers. A similar drunk-driving law in Alberta has faced several legal challenges on the basis that suspended licenses are tantamount to a presumption of guilt and are also a violation of Charter rights.

Super-speeders and tractor DUI

Here are exactly those types of drivers that Manitoba is after.

Manitoba RCMP nabbed eight “super speeders” — drivers travelling at least 140 km/h — last weekend, including two drivers clocked at over 160.

And here’s a tip about an excuse that won’t fly with police: four offenders said they were speeding because they don’t like driving at night, so were trying to get home faster. No sale.

After the speeding was done, cops also caught a drunk driver — driving a tractor. The man was driving with a suspended licence and with a blood-alcohol level more than double the legal limit.

Long record, long suspension

A 28-year-old P.E.I. man who’s already racked up a lengthy drunk-driving record lost his licence for seven years after another conviction this week.

Justin MacDonald’s latest conviction was a no-doubter: he pled guilty after he drove into a snowbank, passed out behind the wheel and refused a breathalyzer test. Oh, and he was driving while disqualified as well.

Learn about the law: Refusing to prove a blood, breath or urine sample

He’ll also serve 90 days in jail on weekends and remain on probation for 18 months.

$72,000 ticket for slight speeding

Here’s some travel advice, or at least some trivia to put your own driving fines into perspective: watch your speed on European roadways.

That’s the take-away after a Finnish man received a C$72,000 speeding ticket. You may be thinking it takes a pretty serious infraction to merit such a fine, but not really; he was driving 64 km/h in a 50 zone.

European countries are increasingly pegging driving fines to income, so wealthy speeders have racked up whopping tickets in recent years. In 2010, a Swiss driver was fined more than $200,000, and fines in the $60-$70,000 range are becoming relatively standard for elite speeders.

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