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Ontario Highway Traffic Act

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Careless Charge - No Accident
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2016 5:08 am 
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Well, after today's incident, I have decided to hang up these keys and buy a metropass.

I was driving a main road (60 km/h speed limit ) and I was doing approx. 60-70 (learned my lesson and stopped speeding excessively). So a car rolls a red stop and cuts me off. I slam on the brakes and swerve into the left lane (checking to see if it was clear first) and avoid hitting the car. As I pull into a plaza (approx. 500m from where the incident took place) I see an officer barrel in behind me and pull me over. As I was shocked, I pulled over and had all my information ready for him as I usually do. Before he even told me why he pulled me over, he said "that maneuver you pulled is Dangerous Driving. Would you like to spend the night in jail?" I was shocked, and scared at the same time, so I started stuttering like an idiot. He then proceeded to say I should not be on the road, and how its young drivers like myself responsible for all these accident fatalities. I just kept repeating I'm sorry multiple times. Eventually he ended up going back to the cruiser with all my information (he made me take it out of the plastic holder my.insurance company provided) and comes back with a careless charge. I was baffled to be honest. I know the usual, request disclosure, plead not guilty, etc.

My question to the forum is:

Has any officer/any person lay a charge/ been charged for avoiding an accident?


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Re: Careless Charge - No Accident
PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2016 8:54 am 
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it will be interesting to read the officers notes and his account of the situation. Apparently he did not see the accident avoidance part. Your account of the situation seems reasonable that you were avoiding an accident, and your testimony at trial would go a long way to getting the charge dropped.

Careless is a tougher charge for the prosecution to prove, so it might be in your best interst to fight the careless charge and not take a plea deal.

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+++ This is not legal advice, only my opinion +++


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Re: Careless Charge - No Accident
PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:25 am 
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I also have a dash cam footage showing me avoiding the accident. Will upload here when I have a chance.


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Re: Careless Charge - No Accident
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 12:27 pm 
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Hey Guys,

Here's an update, I went and got my disclosure today. File is too big, so here is the link. http://imgur.com/vwsuZeE

I also have a dash cam recording here, Incident happens at 1:26 : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ht8ybQA ... e=youtu.be

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


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Re: Careless Charge - No Accident
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 1:10 pm 
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The video looks like you had enough time to stop.

Regardless, you can make the case that you were trying to avoid the collision which gives validity for you actions, but that will be for the judge to make an opinion of that. Careless driving is an ambiguous offense and is one of the more difficult charges to prove. From what I see, what you did wasn't careless but the case could be made that you could've slowed down.

I would take it to trial, talk to the prosecutor and showing them the video, and if they don't lessen the charge or withdraw it, take it to the trial and see what the JP says.


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Re: Careless Charge - No Accident
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 1:27 pm 
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It's hard to tell whether you were speeding or not, but you can see you slow down a little when the van pulls out in front of you.

So my opinion is that how were driving was NOT careless. The van pulled out and you had to change lanes to avoid a collission.

As long as you checked the lane was clear to your left, then you do not need to signal.

So you could argue that although driving was not maybe the best, it certainly was not careless.

Officers says he is worried about pedestrians and other vehicles in area, but video does not show any pedestrians that I saw, and very few vehicles.

Just my opinion but this would be a good charge to challenge in court. They may offer a reduced plea to a lesser offence, but this one is probably beatable. If you win, then great no charges at all, however if you lose then careless charge is serious and the same as having a DUI on your record for insurance purposes.

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Re: Careless Charge - No Accident
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:30 pm 
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I wouldn't use the video since it clearly shows you speeding. You certainly were not doing 70km/h because if you time 1 second of footage (just before the incident), you'll notice you easily pass 3 dashed white lane lines. Each dashed white line is 3m with a 6m gap to the next. That's a total of 27m (9m/line x 3lines), which works out to about 97km/hr----that's well over the speed limit of 60km.

In my view, it appears that you accelerate as you approach the intersection----a reasonable person in a similar situation would do the opposite. Then, you make the lane change quite abruptly because you didn't take steps beforehand to anticipate changes in the road and factor in the actions of other drivers. A prudent person in that situation would slow down as they approach the intersection, especially when they know they are already driving faster than the speed limit (so as to affect the timing judgement of other drivers trying to enter the same road as you). That meets the definition of careless driving----"without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway".

But then, to add even further insult, you change lanes and then re-enter the right lane in front of the other driver very quickly. I would suspect you either didn't use your signal or did the maneuver so fast that the other driver wouldn't have been able to see the signal (if you did put it on). In other words, a lane change not in safety.

I therefore wouldn't use the video since it won't help your case. It creates a good visual of your bad driving. Instead, if you proceed to trial, simply challenge the officer's observations----that way, its just your word against his. Given that it was night, no accident occurred, and they likely won't have the other driver as a witness---you'll have a much better chance of winning.


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Re: Careless Charge - No Accident
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:53 pm 
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The notes also say that you cut off another vehicle when you changed lanes which would not, of course, show up on the dash cam.

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Former Ontario Police Officer. Advice will become less relevant as the time goes by !


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Re: Careless Charge - No Accident
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 3:20 pm 
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Being able to stop but choosing to change lanes instead does not equal careless. If a vehicle was cut off, then where was that vehicle? Even passing the other vehicle that pulled out, it was still not going very fast.

Also the charge is not speeding though, it is careless. Speeding does not equal careless.

Can a charge of speeding be issued even if found not guilty of careless? I think this is called something like an incuded offence, but not exactly sure how that works.

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Re: Careless Charge - No Accident
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 3:31 pm 
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The vehicle would presumably have been in the lane to the left of the OP and behind although it must have presumable been travelling even faster.

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Former Ontario Police Officer. Advice will become less relevant as the time goes by !


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Re: Careless Charge - No Accident
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 4:25 pm 
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At the beginning of the video, you appear to blow through a clearly posted stop sign when you turn right. As pointed out, the video does appear to show you also driving faster than the posted speed limit, and then swerving around the vehicle that pulled out (apparently not properly stopping at the intersection). The officer notes the posted speed limit as 60 km/h, as @highwaystar estimated your speed at approximately 97 km/h you would appear to have been travelling at a relatively high rate of speed over the posted speed limit. In the disclosure notes the officer notes the high rate of speed and apparently two lane changes without use of signals that may have effected other vehicles on the roadway. Disclosure notes your statement that you were aware of driving over the posted speed limit.

Section 130 of the HTA (Careless Driving) is as follows:

"Careless driving
130. Every person is guilty of the offence of driving carelessly who drives a vehicle or street car on a highway without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway and on conviction is liable to a fine of not less than $400 and not more than $2,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both, and in addition his or her licence or permit may be suspended for a period of not more than two years. 2009, c. 5, s. 41."

As pointed out by other posters, the word here is both brief and generic. The court will have do decide given the rate of speed and driving behaviour....did you drive 'without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway'?

Careless Driving offences are one of the most serious offences that can be issued under the HTA (general information can be found here).

Generally for serious offences such as these, a defendant would be well served to seek out legal representation to prepare and argue their defence at court. If your matter will be a trial issue, there is a distinct difference between being innocent of an offence and being found not guilty at trial.

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The content of this post is not legal advice. Legal advice can only be provided after a licenced paralegal has been retained, spoken with you directly, and reviewed the documents related to your case.


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Re: Careless Charge - No Accident
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 5:14 pm 
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Personal opinion, but I think that video shows careless driving and if I were you I wouldn't bring it anywhere near the courtroom.


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Re: Careless Charge - No Accident
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 5:50 pm 
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I found this site by chance and have found it informative. Many posts have tempted me to post even though I'm not an expert in any way. However, this one finally has me posting to, in the friendliest of terms, say that I would burn that video quickly. It very much appears that you blow the stop sign and appears you drive a little too quickly. From a layperson's point of view (mine), it doesn't look good and I'd chuck it and immediately. At the very least, edit out your time before and after that stop sign.


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Re: Careless Charge - No Accident
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 10:51 pm 
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As OTD Legal noted, in the disclosure document, the police officer said:
"I asked the driver how fast he had been travelling and he said between 80-90 km/hr in a posted 60 km/hr zone. I asked why he was driving in a reckles[s] fashion and he said they were having a little party and he needed to get some stuff from the store. I asked at the jeopardy of everyone else on the highway? the driver just looked at me sheepishly and it was agreed he was driving poorly"

Did this actually happen?

While you can try to move to have your conversation with the officer not entered as evidence, it will be difficult to do so; and this officer's notes looks particularly bad for your case.

And I also don't think the video particularly helps your case either.

However, careless driving is a subjective charge as to what constitutes "careless" and the courts have held that the standards for drivers isn't perfection. It will take some convincing to argue against this charge. I would try to plea bargain with the prosecutor or prepare yourself well for the date of your trial - maybe talk to a paralegal since careless driving is pretty serious.


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Re: Careless Charge - No Accident
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:18 am 
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I see the video has been taken down.

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