Rear ended school bus 2X - court dates soon. Advice please

MissCutzie
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Rear ended school bus 2X - court dates soon. Advice please

by: MissCutzie on
Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:01 pm

I'm a science teacher at a high school and I rear ended the same school bus twice near the school and I want some advice on what to expect for the trials which are soon. I've asked around and it seems my chances are unfortunately slim.

The first time I had just bought a 2nd hand car and it came with a carpet that was a bit like a hard sponge. In the first week of my ownership itself I rear ended the school bus. I was driving in stiletto heels and what happened was the stiletto got caught in the carpet and hence my shoe was stuck over the accelerator and I missed the brake pedal and braked late. I must have hit the bus at around 25 km/h. I am used to driving in the shoes and they are ok but this was in another car without such a carpet. Admittedly I had noticed this problem on the first drive of this car and planned to change it but I hadn't yet.

Witnesses told the cops I was applying makeup while driving and they noted a tray of face powder and lipgloss on the driver's seat. I tried to explain that the crash was because of not getting the brake pedal which was a mistake and I ended up telling them what happened with their questioning. The cops said they would charge me with careless as I should have known to wear a different shoe or change the carpet. (I didn't admit that I realized the problem earlier). Although even if makeup caused the accident I guess they'd have done the same thing anyway.

All these details are mentioned in the office notes in the disclosure. Kids at the back of the school bus said they'd seen me driving while doing my makeup for a long time since I was behind the bus.


The second time which was a few weeks after this incident, at nearly the same location I hit the same bus driven by the same person! This time what happened was that the brake pedal truly became very hard. It was working but very hard to press down. It had done this before on a few occasions. It became extremely hard at one point and I just could not press it and my foot completely slipped off the pedal, it was that hard and I might have touched the accelerator after it slipped as I felt the car go faster but I'm not sure. I hit the bus again.

This time someone claimed I was on the phone which wasn't really true as I was not using my phone in the moments when this happened. The driver mentioned to the cops I had hit them before and I explained that the brake pedal became hard. But when we checked it again, it became softer again (I kid you not!). They asked me if I was driving barefoot and I said no. They asked if I was sure my shoes were comfortable and not slippery and I said yes they were ok. They noted the approximate height of the heel. The brake lockup happened again after this incident and I had a mechanic look at it and he did some maintenance to the car in general and the car feels much better to drive since and hasn't had this problem.

My court dates are very close.
What questions might I be asked and suggested answers please?
Is mentioning the carpet came with the car and I had no idea it would catch a good idea for the first accident?
Is mentioning the brake problem again and showing the mechanic maintenance documents a good idea?
How much extra should I expect to pay for insurance?
If you have a particularly strong argument I can use please share.

Please advice. I know that I sound like an awful driver and I've become the laughing stock at the school but I had only one at fault accident before this and that was ages ago and very minor. While its been highly embarrassing I've learn to join in and not take the jokes I hear in the HS about this. I'm still quite young and teaching seems to be working out for me and my students really like me luckily and all classes taught by me actually have a higher average so at least I still have some respect despite everyone knowing. My driving record has no my fault accidents in the past 2 years and 4 points for speeding and 2 for failing to signal both of which will expire very shortly before the 2nd court date. I do have some distracted driving though but these have no points.

This experience has taught me to be careful and I've stopped using the phone while driving and avoid using makeup while moving.

This is the only similar old case I found http://www.canlii.org/en/on/oncj/doc/20 ... VhcgAAAAAB . However this is much more careless and involves turning into the sidewalk and a serious injury. The charge was not dismissed.


hawaii
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by: hawaii on
Wed Apr 02, 2014 5:58 pm

MissCutzie wrote:I'm a science teacher at a high school and I rear ended the same school bus twice near the school and I want some advice on what to expect for the trials which are soon. I've asked around and it seems my chances are unfortunately slim.

The first time I had just bought a 2nd hand car and it came with a carpet that was a bit like a hard sponge. In the first week of my ownership itself I rear ended the school bus. I was driving in stiletto heels and what happened was the stiletto got caught in the carpet and hence my shoe was stuck over the accelerator and I missed the brake pedal and braked late. I must have hit the bus at around 25 km/h. I am used to driving in the shoes and they are ok but this was in another car without such a carpet. Admittedly I had noticed this problem on the first drive of this car and planned to change it but I hadn't yet.

Witnesses told the cops I was applying makeup while driving and they noted a tray of face powder and lipgloss on the driver's seat. I tried to explain that the crash was because of not getting the brake pedal which was a mistake and I ended up telling them what happened with their questioning. The cops said they would charge me with careless as I should have known to wear a different shoe or change the carpet. (I didn't admit that I realized the problem earlier). Although even if makeup caused the accident I guess they'd have done the same thing anyway.

All these details are mentioned in the office notes in the disclosure. Kids at the back of the school bus said they'd seen me driving while doing my makeup for a long time since I was behind the bus.


The second time which was a few weeks after this incident, at nearly the same location I hit the same bus driven by the same person! This time what happened was that the brake pedal truly became very hard. It was working but very hard to press down. It had done this before on a few occasions. It became extremely hard at one point and I just could not press it and my foot completely slipped off the pedal, it was that hard and I might have touched the accelerator after it slipped as I felt the car go faster but I'm not sure. I hit the bus again.

This time someone claimed I was on the phone which wasn't really true as I was not using my phone in the moments when this happened. The driver mentioned to the cops I had hit them before and I explained that the brake pedal became hard. But when we checked it again, it became softer again (I kid you not!). They asked me if I was driving barefoot and I said no. They asked if I was sure my shoes were comfortable and not slippery and I said yes they were ok. They noted the approximate height of the heel. The brake lockup happened again after this incident and I had a mechanic look at it and he did some maintenance to the car in general and the car feels much better to drive since and hasn't had this problem.

My court dates are very close.
What questions might I be asked and suggested answers please?
Is mentioning the carpet came with the car and I had no idea it would catch a good idea for the first accident?
Is mentioning the brake problem again and showing the mechanic maintenance documents a good idea?
How much extra should I expect to pay for insurance?
If you have a particularly strong argument I can use please share.

Please advice. I know that I sound like an awful driver and I've become the laughing stock at the school but I had only one at fault accident before this and that was ages ago and very minor. While its been highly embarrassing I've learn to join in and not take the jokes I hear in the HS about this. I'm still quite young and teaching seems to be working out for me and my students really like me luckily and all classes taught by me actually have a higher average so at least I still have some respect despite everyone knowing. My driving record has no my fault accidents in the past 2 years and 4 points for speeding and 2 for failing to signal both of which will expire very shortly before the 2nd court date. I do have some distracted driving though but these have no points.

This experience has taught me to be careful and I've stopped using the phone while driving and avoid using makeup while moving.

This is the only similar old case I found http://www.canlii.org/en/on/oncj/doc/20 ... VhcgAAAAAB . However this is much more careless and involves turning into the sidewalk and a serious injury. The charge was not dismissed.
Get a life. To make up stuff like this is just plain sad. You have far too much time on your hands.




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by: bend on
Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:16 am

MissCutzie wrote:Is mentioning the carpet came with the car and I had no idea it would catch a good idea for the first accident?
It's not going to matter. You are not the first person to blame shoes/carpeting/etc for causing an accident. It's an excuse, not a defense. They hear this nonsense everyday. Wear proper shoes while driving or don't drive.
MissCutzie wrote:Is mentioning the brake problem again and showing the mechanic maintenance documents a good idea?
It's your duty to make sure your vehicle is safe for the road. Driving it till you smack into the vehicle in front of you is not a defense. Not only that, but you continued driving it.
MissCutzie wrote:How much extra should I expect to pay for insurance?
That is solely dependent on your insurance company. There's no one who will be able to answer this question other than your provider.
MissCutzie wrote:Please advice. I know that I sound like an awful driver and I've become the laughing stock at the school but I had only one at fault accident before this and that was ages ago and very minor. While its been highly embarrassing I've learn to join in and not take the jokes I hear in the HS about this. I'm still quite young and teaching seems to be working out for me and my students really like me luckily and all classes taught by me actually have a higher average so at least I still have some respect despite everyone knowing. My driving record has no my fault accidents in the past 2 years and 4 points for speeding and 2 for failing to signal both of which will expire very shortly before the 2nd court date. I do have some distracted driving though but these have no points.
Two accidents with accompanying charges (more if you count past your own personal 2 year grace period), 30+ over, 2 failing to signal convictions, and "some" distraction driving tickets. I wish you luck with your insurance, because you're going to need it. Forget about "how much am I going to pay?" and concentrate on "will they even continue providing me insurance?". Tickets don't disappear after 2 years, point do. Points are also useless. Insurance doesn't care about points. They only care that you were convicted. Your distracted driving tickets that you seem to not worry about because "these have no points" are just as bad as all your other tickets.


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by: MissCutzie on
Fri Apr 04, 2014 10:24 am

bend wrote:
MissCutzie wrote:Is mentioning the carpet came with the car and I had no idea it would catch a good idea for the first accident?
It's not going to matter. You are not the first person to blame shoes/carpeting/etc for causing an accident. It's an excuse, not a defense. They hear this nonsense everyday. Wear proper shoes while driving or don't drive.
MissCutzie wrote:Is mentioning the brake problem again and showing the mechanic maintenance documents a good idea?
It's your duty to make sure your vehicle is safe for the road. Driving it till you smack into the vehicle in front of you is not a defense. Not only that, but you continued driving it.
MissCutzie wrote:How much extra should I expect to pay for insurance?
That is solely dependent on your insurance company. There's no one who will be able to answer this question other than your provider.
MissCutzie wrote:Please advice. I know that I sound like an awful driver and I've become the laughing stock at the school but I had only one at fault accident before this and that was ages ago and very minor. While its been highly embarrassing I've learn to join in and not take the jokes I hear in the HS about this. I'm still quite young and teaching seems to be working out for me and my students really like me luckily and all classes taught by me actually have a higher average so at least I still have some respect despite everyone knowing. My driving record has no my fault accidents in the past 2 years and 4 points for speeding and 2 for failing to signal both of which will expire very shortly before the 2nd court date. I do have some distracted driving though but these have no points.
Two accidents with accompanying charges (more if you count past your own personal 2 year grace period), 30+ over, 2 failing to signal convictions, and "some" distraction driving tickets. I wish you luck with your insurance, because you're going to need it. Forget about "how much am I going to pay?" and concentrate on "will they even continue providing me insurance?". Tickets don't disappear after 2 years, point do. Points are also useless. Insurance doesn't care about points. They only care that you were convicted. Your distracted driving tickets that you seem to not worry about because "these have no points" are just as bad as all your other tickets.
Thanks for the reply, my shoes were ok for driving but not with that carpet. I'm quite used to it. But I get your point. Loads of women drive in similar shoes but I'd agree that mine were a bit higher but I can usually manage fine.

As for insurance this seems like a bigger problem than I thought. I think though I will get insurance but it will be very expensive. Will the fact that I have careless driving + an accident be viewed by the insurance company the same as if I had an accident with no tickets?

Also is there any chance of getting a lesser charge or having it dropped at all. I know a couple of people with careless driving who got it dropped to following to closely, other lesser charges and one even dropped completely. How do they do this?


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by: 287 on
Fri Apr 04, 2014 2:27 pm

My thoughts on this question:
Also is there any chance of getting a lesser charge or having it dropped at all. I know a couple of people with careless driving who got it dropped to following to closely, other lesser charges and one even dropped completely. How do they do this?

Very good chance of having the charge reduced. You can do this through the Early Resolution process or by selecting the trial option. In all likelihood, when you attend your Early Resolution meeting the prosecutor will look over the file, and offer you a reduced charge, you decide if you like the deal. When selecting to go to trial, the same thing happens frequently when you check in. If you like the deal offered, you agree to plead guilty to the amended charge in front of the JP. The charges will be dealt with separately.

For the charges to be dropped completely you will need to put together a successful defence. A careless driving conviction has some pretty big consequences in terms of insurance, and for those that are not full G class drivers. I would not chose to defend myself, and would hire someone to do so. Request disclosure on both charges, and take the information you receive to a para legal or lawyer for an opinion; its the best way to find out if you are in a situation that is likely defendable, as there are variables and elements to the charge.

The charges are also dropped frequently in court if witnesses do not appear.

Best wishes.








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by: bobajob on
Sat Jun 07, 2014 11:56 am

I agree, however I doubt miscutsie is even looking at this site anymore
hecubus wrote:
287 wrote:
Can you provide any details as to how your strategy worked? There are so many here hoping to make the same happen.
Indeed, I'm sure most folks will be interested to hear how _both_ charges were dismissed.
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by: hecubus on
Tue Jul 08, 2014 1:10 pm

bobajob wrote:I agree, however I doubt miscutsie is even looking at this site anymore
Actually, MissCutzie just started a thread yesterday about another careless driving charge: http://www.ontariohighwaytrafficact.com/topic6534.html

According to that new thread, the charges discussed here were "dropped by proving mechanical defect". More details please!


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by: MissCutzie on
Tue Jul 08, 2014 1:51 pm

hecubus wrote:
bobajob wrote:I agree, however I doubt miscutsie is even looking at this site anymore
Actually, MissCutzie just started a thread yesterday about another careless driving charge: http://www.ontariohighwaytrafficact.com/topic6534.html

According to that new thread, the charges discussed here were "dropped by proving mechanical defect". More details please!
Hello, yes I pleaded not guilty for both charges. I got advice from a friend with experience in these matters. I was told that if you purposely arrange the change the trial date as far as possible there is a chance of the cop not showing up on the actual date. This is what happened with the first case. This was very good for me as it would have been much harder to defend the first case. I was really relieved at this point as I knew I had a good chance of reducing the second charge and even if not one careless driving charge while bad is still much better than 2 of them. With 2 of them there is no way I'd get insured.

For the second case I was questioned a lot about what caused the accident etc, I appeared in court innocent looking etc :| and I was asked a lot of questions since the officer notes included a lot of bad stuff. It helps to be presentable and speak as politely as possible and not appear arrogant at all. Even though judges are not supposed to be affected by it it does make a difference and not all judges rule in the same way when presented the same information.

I was asked questions about how the accident occurred, approximate speed, location of vehicles etc, if there were children on the school bus.. Then I was questioned about footwear as this was mentioned in the notes. I said that my footwear was never a problem, I was in proper control with the shoes and had no reason to believe that my shoes caused the accident. I was asked to describe the shoe, I said they were stilettos but they had a good grip and I could feel the pedals properly. I offered to show the shoes. (They were sort of like these http://howcool.com/popup-images/PL-CHIC-46.jpg ). Next I showed papers from the collision center documenting fixes to the brakes done after the date of the accident. The pedal itself had to be changed and so were the brakes.

The verdict was not guilty and the charges were dropped. I was questioned a long time on the brake repair and I said that the brake pedal had locked up similarly on the same day of the accident once before. Maybe it helped that the judge was female so she'd know that my shoes were safe enough for driving. But without the repair papers I would likely have not gotten off with it.

This is all so good, but I got another careless driving charge for missing a stop sign. I hope that I'm lucky again,




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by: MissCutzie on
Wed Jul 09, 2014 12:32 pm

hecubus wrote:Thanks for the details. Indeed you were lucky to have the first charge dismissed since from what I understand, the likelihood of the police officer not showing up to trial is pretty slim.
The likelihood increases when you change the original trial date as close as possible to the original date as per someone's advice.


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