A Nanaimo senior caught excessively speeding says officers should exercise their discretion when they impound vehicles, but the RCMP say there’s no grey area there.
Penny Hamilton, 71, said her vehicle shouldn’t have been taken away after she was pulled over going 120 kilometres per hour in an 70km/h zone in Ladysmith this past Saturday. Hamilton and her husband were on an errand to Duncan when she says she sped up to pass a car being driven erratically and a truck in front of it.
“I agreed with the officer, I’m sorry, I was speeding, I was trying to get past the little black car and the chipper truck, I didn’t see the sign where it says 70,” she said.
Hamilton didn’t take issue with the speeding ticket, she said, but was shocked when she was told that her car was being towed and impounded for seven days and that she, her husband and their dog would need to arrange their own ride home.
Hamilton said with the ticket, fine, impound fee, cost of a rental car and effect on her insurance, “I added it all up, it’s going to cost us $2,800 for a traffic infraction. I don’t believe it.”
She said she’s never had a speeding ticket and added that she wasn’t unco-operative during the traffic stop.
“I was a commercial fisherman; I would use the F word and I swear, I did not use it. I was polite, I was courteous, I did what I was told,” she said.
Cpl. Mike Halskov, spokesman for B.C. RCMP Traffic Services, said police “absolutely cannot” use their discretion in instances of excessive speeding, adding that the Motor Vehicle Act, Road Safety B.C. and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure are “very, very clear” on that piece of legislation.
He said an officer conducting laser speed enforcement sees a vehicle, not the person driving.
“In this particular case, unfortunately it was an older person that got pulled over for excessive speed, and it happened to occur during a month when we’re conducting a high-risk driving campaign,” Halskov said. “Excessive speed is one of the things that we’re out there enforcing heavily this month, as always.”
Hamilton said she has already begun a process to dispute her ticket. She said some people offered to give her money, but she refused them.
“I wouldn’t take money from anybody. We’re using our Visa, that’s what we’re doing,” she said.