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Speeding is speeding no matter the grade

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Published August 11, 2014
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When going down a steep hill, are motorists expected to ride their brakes so they won’t exceed the speed limit? Everyone does this after spotting police at the bottom of a valley road, but it seems ridiculous.

Also, the speed limit drops unnecessarily just before the grade, which seems unfair and makes for an ideal radar trap.

York Regional Police Const. Andy Pattenden replies: The speed limit is just that, a limit, and it is an absolute liability offence. Regardless of the grade of the road, vehicles are not to exceed the posted speed limit.

Eric Lai adds: Naturally, it helps if you’re not speeding to begin with.

For a long, continuous downhill grade, shift into a lower gear to help control speed. If you ride the brakes for too long, they can overheat and fail.

White signs display the enforced speed limit. Yellow signs are advisory speeds only.

Complaints about artificially low speed limits or inadequate/confusing signage can be directed to the road authority involved, which regulates such matters, not the police.

Will police respond if you call 911 and report a dog locked in a hot car? Or would they just redirect you to the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) or something?

York Regional Police Const. Andy Pattenden replies: Police will respond to animals (or children) in distress locked in hot cars.

We can lay a criminal charge of Animal Cruelty where warranted and would usually get in touch with the OSPCA for followup. They may also lay criminal charges or charges under the OSPCA Act.

OSPCA Investigation Agent Brad Dewar replies: The Ontario SPCA has a new 24-7 call centre for reporting animal cruelty, just dial 310-SPCA (7722), no area code needed and it works province-wide. We recommend that the Ontario SPCA be the first point of contact.

If an Ontario SPCA officer is unable to get to the scene promptly, then it would be advisable to contact local police.

We work closely with police services in addressing the issue of animals being left unattended in vehicles as this is a community concern and animal welfare requires community support.

Bumper sticker backfires

“Baby on route” Please get that baby off the road, then you can get back “en route.”

“I’m the man your mother warned you about” That would make you a child molester.

“Mafia staff car” Ask yourself: Is mockingly feigning membership in a notorious criminal organization ever wise? Maybe they’ll thank you personally.

Email your non-mechanical questions to Eric Lai at wheels@thestar.ca. Due to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.

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