A video of a severe instance of road rage sparked between two Quebec drivers last weekend was captured on video and is now going viral on Facebook.
Last Saturday afternoon, while traveling on the A-40 through L’Assomption in Lanaudière, passenger James McKinnel spied some dangerous driving and got out his phone to record what was happening.
In those 60 seconds, punctuated by cries of Les esties de jambons! – “The f&**$ing hams!” – viewers can witness a white Volkswagen Jetta and a black BMW X3 engaged in some reckless manoeuvers on the traffic-dense highway.
The video hit the news and found its way to the Sûreté du Québec communications office. But it was nothing new, there. Spokesperson Capitaine Paul Leduc says every week the provincial police receive at least one video, if not two or three, involving “reckless driving.”
In Quebec, said offense is subject not only to a $1,500 minimum fine and up to 20 demerits points – enough to lose your driver’s license – but is also subject to criminal sanctions.
If that road rage case would have caused a fatal accident – “and this one was very near to becoming a multiple-collision,” says Capitaine Leduc – these drivers might have been kept off the streets for a while, and faced up to 10 years of imprisonment.
But although there’s video proof of these actions and the license plates are easily recognizable, Sûreté du Québec can’t pursue the file. Without a confirmation of who was behind the steering wheel at the time – the owner? Their kids? A thief? – it can’t investigate, nor send a summation.
It means last weekend’s road rage video will go nowhere, besides on your relative’s Facebook Wall — unless the amateur cineaste lodges an official complaint and is willing to testify in court about what he witnessed.
Only then would police officers have several means to catch these offenders, starting with images from surveillance cameras. In extreme situations, a reconstruction team could be called in to prove, for example, that this or that vehicle was traveling at such and such speed.
“When you see something like this, call the police. Dial 911 or 4141 and give us the details,” emphasize Capitaine Leduc. “At this point, we would have sent a patrol car and we would have asked Transports Quebec to turn its cameras toward the action. And believe me, there are a lot of those cameras in Montreal’s highway belt. We would have been able to collect videos needed for legal proceedings.”
There is one caveat, of course. “Don’t put yourself at risk,” says Capitaine Leduc. “We don’t want you to cause an accident while trying to avoid another one.”