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Ontario Highway Traffic Act

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First post: Is there a speed allowance for overtaking?
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:33 am 
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Hello everyone. I just discovered this forum and this is my first post here. I’m looking for help answering a couple questions, as I just received a speeding ticket yesterday.

1. Is there a speed allowance in Ontario for overtaking slow traffic on a two-lane highway? I think the answer is "No" but would appreciate a confirmation or to be made aware if there is one.

2. Is it possible to plead guilty to the offense and pay the fine on time, without incurring demerit points? Again, I think the answer is "No" but would appreciate some guidance.

###

Some facts about my situation, in case you’re interested.

Yesterday afternoon I was driving along Highway 17 near Plantagenet which is a two-lane rural highway with a posted speed limit of 90 km/h. I found myself stuck behind a "wagon train" of five vehicles moving along at only 60 km/h, led by a pickup truck with trailer (clearly heavily laden).

The five vehicles were following each other so closely that I could not overtake (leapfrog) them one at a time. Finally we reached a spot where opposite lane was free, the yellow line was dotted and I had the opportunity to overtake all five vehicles with plenty of room to spare. So I turned into the oncoming lane and accelerated briskly. My plan was to overtake all five vehicles quickly, get back into my lane and slow down again.

To my surprise there was a speed trap ahead, and the police officer quickly flagged me over to the side of the road. I pulled over, he came up behind me, and I handed him my info. I explained what happened and he ended up citing me for driving 20 km/h over the posted limit – $95 and 3 demerit points.

This is only the second ticket I’ve received in my entire driving life; however, it’s also my second in the last two years (same offense, nearly two years ago).

It seems to me that there should be some allowance for overtaking on a two-lane highway. It seems far preferable to minimize the amount of time spent "hanging out there" in the opposite lane versus trying to pass slower-moving traffic without exceeding the posted speed limit.

I figure I don’t have a legal leg to stand on here, but before I simply suck it up and pay the ticket and suffer the consequences, I’d appreciate knowing if there’s an option I’m overlooking. Thanks.


Last edited by CliffClaven on Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: First post: Is there a speed allowance for overtaking?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:50 am 
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1. No
2. No
The only way to get no demerit points is a guilty plea to an offence that doesn't have any. eg. 15 km/h over or less


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Re: First post: Is there a speed allowance for overtaking?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:44 pm 
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If you fight the ticket you will get an extended time Until you are guilty.
Doing this will help with the 2 tickets in 3 years.
On the day of the trial you can pay if you want but it will a delay to the insurance finding out about it.

It may even get you past the time where the 1rst one is past.

Cheers
Viper1

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Re: First post: Is there a speed allowance for overtaking?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:15 pm 
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Thanks for the feedback, everyone.

I have another question. Given that the HTA also makes it an offense to drive too slowly for conditions (s.132), does this provide me with a reasonable defense should I decide to challenge the speeding ticket in court?

The time of day (mid-afternoon) and excellent weather conditions (sunny, warm and clear) were ideal, so wouldn't driving 60 km/h in a 90 zone be considered unreasonable?

Even if the pickup truck at the head of the "wagon train" was overladen, wouldn't it be an offense for the four drivers behind him to also drive too slowly and not overtake it?

Fastamber wrote:
"132. (1) No motor vehicle shall be driven on a highway at such a slow rate of speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic thereon except when the slow rate of speed is necessary for safe operation having regard to all the circumstances. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 132 (1)."


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Re: First post: Is there a speed allowance for overtaking?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 5:59 pm 
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CliffClaven wrote:
Thanks for the feedback, everyone.

I have another question. Given that the HTA also makes it an offense to drive too slowly for conditions (s.132), does this provide me with a reasonable defense should I decide to challenge the speeding ticket in court?

The time of day (mid-afternoon) and excellent weather conditions (sunny, warm and clear) were ideal, so wouldn't driving 60 km/h in a 90 zone be considered unreasonable?

Even if the pickup truck at the head of the "wagon train" was overladen, wouldn't it be an offense for the four drivers behind him to also drive too slowly and not overtake it?

Fastamber wrote:
"132. (1) No motor vehicle shall be driven on a highway at such a slow rate of speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic thereon except when the slow rate of speed is necessary for safe operation having regard to all the circumstances. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 132 (1)."


Speeding is deemed to be an absolute liability offense. This means you were either speeding, or you were not.

The courts are going to find the vehicle in front of you driving unnecessary slow isn't an excuse for traveling 20km over. If the driver in front of you is traveling at a speed deemed unnecessary slow, then the speed limit in place should be more than acceptable for safely passing.

If the speed limit is not enough to pass for you to pass 1 or 5 cars at once, it's on you. In fact, the idea of passing 5 cars at once makes your story even worse and I'd be hesitant to even admit to that in court.

I'm not passing judgment on what you did, but this is the reality of going to court. The courts aren't going to find some kind of gray area here. Key words are absolute liability.


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Re: First post: Is there a speed allowance for overtaking?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:26 am 
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"Absolute liability offense." Thanks for the education.

Guess I shall just pay the ticket and file the whole experience under "Suck it up, Buttercup."


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Re: First post: Is there a speed allowance for overtaking?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 2:45 pm 
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CliffClaven wrote:
"Absolute liability offense." Thanks for the education.

Guess I shall just pay the ticket and file the whole experience under "Suck it up, Buttercup."


If it were me I would still contest it. Some times the police make technical errors that can be used as a defense. If you pick option three on the ticket and request a trial, you can then request disclosure and see what evidence the prosecution has against you. Once you see the evidence they have you can decide whether it is worth fighting from that point on. Also even if you decide it is not worth fighting after you receive the disclosure, you can still plea bargain with the crown to a lesser charge and save your self some money and get fewer points on your licence. Since you are charged with 20 over I would think it is very likely that the crown would be willing to drop it to 15 over in exchange for a guilty plea so that you get no points. Also as Viper pointed out the longer you stretch this out the closer that ticket from 2 years ago comes to dropping of your record, this will make it less likely that your insurance company will see the two convictions together and raise your rates.


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Re: First post: Is there a speed allowance for overtaking?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 6:33 pm 
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CliffClaven wrote:
"Absolute liability offense." Thanks for the education.

Guess I shall just pay the ticket and file the whole experience under "Suck it up, Buttercup."


You don't have to suck it up, but you're going about it the wrong way. You can't fight speeding tickets with excuses.

You can always file disclosure and go along for the ride. You might catch a break somewhere during the process (no notes, they don't send them, incomplete, the trial takes too long, delayed trials, officer doesn't show up, etc). It can get time consuming though depending how it all goes. But at the end of it all, you can always still walk away with a plea deal right before your trial.

Or you can always take a plea deal immediately in return for your guilt. If the ticket hasn't already been reduced, this is as straight forward as showing up for an attendance meeting or the date of your trial. You get in line with 30 other people and they hand out deals to get you the hell out of there so they can go get lunch.


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