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Pop checks and the fining of sardines packed in a tin can

Writer says defensive driving courses need to be mandatory and is not happy about a seat belt fine.


Defensive driving courses need to be made mandatory and available for youth as part of the curriculum for Grade 10 students. It will at least keep the youth in school. Defensive driving lessons offer a way of thinking outside our own box, outside our own belly-buttons; how to be aware of the unexpected at all times.

We cannot know what is around the next bend, whether animal or distracted drivers. Distracted by cell phones and other tech only off-road vehicles at one time were allowed to have, like loggers or RCMP.

Imagine phoning up your mate to bring home the bacon, distracting them so that they end up smeared across someone’s windshield and taking out that group of sardines, too. Few survive the horrendous impacts of distracted drivers. I have come to realize vehicles are the new and latest mode of population control checks.

Buckled up seat belts do not make for better drivers. Never.

All they do is keep bodies contained within the vehicle so that the RCMP can file their accident report without having to scrape us up off the road, or look for us in the underbrush or the chuck.

Imagine if we wrap a metal strap around a pallet of sardines at a loading dock for loading onto a ship at the container port in Prince Rupert. Or a pipeline strapped with metal brackets. One of the strappings might work, might keep the sardine contained in the container, while it may or may not end up in the chuck, but not the oil from spilling; neither strappings make for a better operator running the loader at the container port or operating the strapping machine along the pipeline.

And for the RCMP (by the way, you new to the area officers, we know you will come to know Smithers is a training ground for political and RCMP) to fine us so extravagantly, to badger us to open our windows wider than six inches, to be asked if we have had a drink and then (to tell you we do not drink or smoke, and, not to push the envelope, reveal to you our sexual history), to ask us when it was we had our last drink?!

And why will we not open our window wider?

Not one more crack, not in 20 below freekin’ freezing weather, and not since the Ted Bundy’s, and not along this corridor of The Highway of Tears, will we be opening our windows more than a fraction of a six-inch crack to show you our DL. All doors will be kept locked tighter than a drum-can of sardines.

There is no law that enforces me to fasten my seat belt when crossing the railroad tracks. In fact, as a registered, licenced Traffic Control Person, I have the option to unbuckle while crossing the tracks. No school buses require seatbelts (they stop too, at all crossings and open their doors), no RCMP back seats have them. Many service vehicles are exempt. Fastened seatbelts do not make for better drivers.

Along this corridor of 35 dead and missing, mostly First Nation females, the RCMP, it seems to me, need to be more focused on finding the killer(s) not badgering and fining us $167 (various, some are charged anywhere from $67 and up), for not being buckled up while crossing the tracks or down Main Street Smithers, stopping every 300 yards. Seat belts do not make for better drivers, defensive driving practices and the banning of cell and tech distractions in vehicles might.

Aileen Norton Swift & company