What’s legal and what’s not when trying to avoid a speeding ticket in B.C.

Radar and laser detectors are legal in B.C. but rules around laser jammers are a little more complicated

Radar and laser detectors are currently legal to install in your vehicle and use to avoid prosecution for failing to follow the speed limits in British Columbia.

One has to ask why B.C. is one of the few provinces in our country that has not made this illegal.

If you think like I do, inappropriate speed is a significant contributor to collisions and should not be encouraged in any way. Radar and laser detectors are encouraging some drivers to drive at inappropriate speeds every day.

Radar and laser jammers are another matter entirely.

While they are not illegal to install, they are illegal to use to defeat police speed measurement. In fact, if you are successfully prosecuted for using them, you will have a criminal record that could prove to be a significant handicap to you later in life.

The offence is in obstructing a peace officer in the execution of his duty, in this case speed measurement.

Laser jamming devices are the most commonly found because modern radar units warn their operator that they are being jammed. Since the vehicle being targeted is known precisely, it is easy to flag the driver out of traffic and start an investigation to confirm the source of the jamming.

If found, the jamming equipment will be seized and kept to present as evidence at trial. In the case of a conviction, the equipment will be forfeit in addition to any other penalty imposed by the court.

Are you willing to trade the possibility of a fine and a few penalty points for the possibility of a criminal record?

Think twice about the “legal counsel” provided by the producers and sellers of jamming equipment.

For more information on this topic, visit www.drivesmartbc.ca. Questions or comments are welcome by e-mail to comments@drivesmartbc.ca. Tim Schewe is a retired RCMP constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. His column appears Friday.

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