EDITORIAL: Drivers still paying

In a time when flawed rhetoric and relentless spin-doctoring makes it hard to know just how our interests are being served,

In a time when flawed rhetoric and relentless spin-doctoring makes it hard to know just how our interests are being served, it’s nice to hear one program, at least, is making an impact on those who seek to steal from us.

Figures released this month by ICBC show that auto theft has fallen 71 per cent since the use of bait cars began.

Thefts from vehicles are also down 64 per cent province-wide, ICBC said.

It’s not just those pesky bait cars – now joined by bait commercial vehicles – that are making life difficult for criminals. Motorists are doing their part by locking vehicles, using anti-theft immobilizers, parking in secure, lit areas and removing valuables from cars.

In further good news for the average, cash-strapped motorist, the corporation recently announced it is considering reducing or eliminating its incentive-pay program for executives if it fails to meet its annual profit targets. The program paid out $17 million in bonuses in 2010, but if declining figures for 2011 hold true, payouts for the corporation CEO, executives and management will be scaled down.

Indeed, if ICBC makes less than $35 million in net income in future years, the CEO and executives will lose their bonuses, and any question of performance pay will be off the table if the corporation posts a net loss.

But that still leaves the question of the $497 million in profits ICBC expects to turn over to the provincial government over the next three years, according to its most recent budget.

As this is money considered surplus to ICBC’s needs, it is said to have no bearing on the need to raise basic rates, which is being blamed on rising claims costs. It might be hard for the average driver to disagree with critics who characterizes the government’s continuing dependence on such funds as a “stealth tax” on motorists.

Perhaps bait cars – and locks and immobilizers on vehicles – are not enough to dispel every attack on our property, after all.

– Black Press