Yesterday morning I committed my first stunt driving offence.
Or did I?
Five lane highways are under construction (two lanes in each direction and a centre turning lane) and the roadway is reduced to one lane going in each direction.
I am stopped at the traffic lights with my left signal light on.
There is a mile of traffic behind me and a mile of traffic behind the driver stopped in the lane directly opposite me.
The light goes solid circular green in both direction. I am making a left turn. I pull into the middle of the intersection and stop, waiting for the oncoming traffic who has the right of way to proceed.
The driver in the oncoming direction has his head down and he is playing with something, reading or whatever he was doing.
He was not paying attention and I could clearly see this.
Four, five or six seconds have now passed since the light has gone green and he hasn't moved an inch.
I checked that no pedestrians were in the crosswalk or approaching the crosswalk as the pedestrian control signal had a walk indication sign giving pedestrians the right of way.
I made the left tun in front of the oncoming traffic at less than 5 mph.
I completed the turn and still the oncoming traffic had not moved.
Nevertheless, what I did is "allegedly" stunt driving under HTA s. 172 regualtion 455/07, s. 8 iv C.
8. Driving a motor vehicle without due care and attention, without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway or in a manner that may endanger any person by,
iv. making a left turn where,
C) the driver executes the left turn immediately before or after the system shows only a circular green indication in both directions and in a manner that indicates an intention to complete or attempt to complete the left turn before the vehicle facing the opposite direction is able to proceed straight through the intersection in response to the circular green indication facing that vehicle.
Or is it?
Pretend you're the cop so you make the call.
Are you going to charge me if you witnessed what just happened?
My defence is this.
I was not driving a motor vehicle without due care and attention, without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway or in a manner that may endanger any person.
This is a requirment of the offence.
No one was in the crosswalk and the driver was not paying attention or his car had stalled and he had his head down while trying to restart it. I have no clue what he was doing but he was holding up two miles of traffic. One mile behind me and one mile behind him.
I endangered no one.
HTA s. 141 (5) required me to afford a reasonable opportunity to the driver or operator of the approaching vehicle to avoid a collision.
I did this. I stopped in the middle of the intersection and waited. The driver never moved and still had his head down.
Left turn, across path of approaching vehicle
(5) No driver or operator of a vehicle in an intersection shall turn left across the path of a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction unless he or she has afforded a reasonable opportunity to the driver or operator of the approaching vehicle to avoid a collision.
In my view, s. 141(5) makes s. 8 iv C of the stunt law unenforcable.
By following s. 141 (5) you might still be convicted of stunt driving.
These two provisions conflict which is just one more reason why s. 172 is useless.
Anyway, in my case, s. 141(5) does not provide for a specific penalty, thus I would be subject to the general penalty under s. 214, from $60 to $500.
214. (1) Every person who contravenes this Act or any regulation is guilty of an offence and on conviction, where a penalty for the contravention is not otherwise provided for herein, is liable to a fine of not less than $60 and not more than $500.
Meanwhile, s. 172 would see me facing 6 months in jail, a 7 day car impoundment, a 7 day licence suspension, with a potential further licence suspension upon conviction, and a minimum $2000 to $10,000 fine.
Quite the contrast.