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B.C.’s top 10 worst drivers hold dozens of convictions

Apr 20 2012
Ravinder Singh Binning devastated a Surrey family when his reckless driving caused the deaths of a Surrey couple in 2008. Sadness quickly turned to anger for the family of Dilbag Badh and his wife Bakshish, when it was discovered Binning, a one-time professional truck driver, had a lengthy history of Motor Vehicle Act (MVA) infractions. At his sentencing last month, court heard the 30-year-old had racked up 13 MVA convictions and 16 driving prohibitions (FILE PHOTO OF CRASH). 

Ravinder Singh Binning devastated a Surrey family when his reckless driving caused the deaths of a Surrey couple in 2008. Sadness quickly turned to anger for the family of Dilbag Badh and his wife Bakshish, when it was discovered Binning, a one-time professional truck driver, had a lengthy history of Motor Vehicle Act (MVA) infractions. At his sentencing last month, court heard the 30-year-old had racked up 13 MVA convictions and 16 driving prohibitions (FILE PHOTO OF CRASH).

Photograph by: Ian Smith , PNG

Ravinder Singh Binning devastated a Surrey family when his reckless driving caused the deaths of a Surrey couple in 2008.

Sadness quickly turned to anger for the family of Dilbag Badh and his wife Bakshish, when it was discovered Binning, a one-time professional truck driver, had a lengthy history of Motor Vehicle Act (MVA) infractions. At his sentencing last month, court heard the 30-year-old had racked up 13 MVA convictions and 16 driving prohibitions.

Still, Binning is far from B.C.’s worst driver: The province’s 10 worst drivers all have about three times as many MVA convictions as he does, according to data provided to The Vancouver Sun by the Insurance Corp. of B.C. They range from each having 37 to 44 convictions — in just a five-year span.

“I’m never comfortable when I see statistics like this, because I know the risk that these drivers pose to public safety,” said Steve Martin, B.C.’s superintendent of motor vehicles.

He noted the province uses a “very rigorous process to review driving records” and action has been taken against all 10 drivers, whose offences occurred between 2006 and 2011. Eight of the 10 are not legally permitted to drive, six have appeared in court, two have served jail time and two have short-term conditional licences, which can include restrictions such as an ignition interlock device, Martin said.

The drivers cannot be named due to privacy legislation.

The most common MVA conviction was failure to produce a driver’s licence or insurance, suggesting the offenders should never have been behind the wheel at all. Among the top 10, there were 163 convictions for this offence.

Such willingness to “operate completely outside the law” makes driving bans and other restrictions essentially useless, Martin acknowledged.

“With the worst of the worst, prohibitions don’t seem to work,” he said.

One tool that has been useful in identifying prohibited, suspended, unlicensed and uninsured drivers is automatic licence plate recognition (ALPR) technology, Martin said.

Originally introduced by the RCMP to aid in the recovery of stolen vehicles, property and other vehicle-related crime, the program was quickly realized to be effective in flagging drivers who aren’t supposed to be on the road.

Cameras with recognition software mounted on police vehicles read up to 3,000 plates per hour on parked and moving vehicles, which are then run against a database in an on-board computer. When a hit is registered, an officer can look into the driver’s record and take action.

A high accumulation of penalty points, generally nine or more — two for a driver in the Graduated Licensing Program, prompts a number of interventions, including probationary periods, prohibitions and bans, according to the Ministry of Justice. Driving while prohibited or suspended results in an automatic court appearance, where a judge may order jail time for high-risk, repeat offenders.

The province is also considering expanding an education program used for impaired drivers to include other dangerous drivers.

“We’re looking at what some other jurisdictions do, in terms of intervening with education, or some sort of behavioural intervention,” Martin said. “With impaired drivers, we do intervene with mandatory education and/or counselling to change their behaviour.”

Binning was sentenced in Surrey Provincial Court last month to four years in jail and received a 10-year driving ban.

Among the top 10 worst drivers:

• One had 44 MVA convictions; one had 42; two had 41; one had 40; one had 39; two had 38; and two had 37.

• There were 163 offences for failing to produce a driver’s licence or insurance; 30 for failing to wear a seatbelt; 30 for speeding against a highway sign; 26 for not having insurance; and 21 for not having a driver’s licence or driving contrary to class.

Across all offending drivers in B.C., there were:

• 714,800 convictions for speeding against a highway sign.

• 335,480 for speeding in or around a municipality.

• 323,710 for failure to wear a seatbelt.

• 157,870 24-hour driving prohibitions due to alcohol.

• 111,940 convictions for not having a driver’s licence or driving contrary to class.

*All statistics are provincewide, from 2006 to 2011.

awoo@vancouversun.com

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