Lamp Post Accident Results In Fail To Remain And Two More

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Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 1:48 pm

Lamp Post Accident Results In Fail To Remain And Two More

by: cousinarlo on

I will apologize now in case my post is too long, but with three tickets for one incident I couldn't shorten it. My daughter recently knocked over a lamp post (approx. 15' tall, not a street light on a hydro pole) on municipal property and received three tickets, including fail to remain. This is what happened:

Driver, female, 25, is returning home and wants to make a left turn off a regional road to a local road. Time is about 3:30 pm. Arriving at the intersection, she faces a school bus, stopped with emergency lights on. Driver is confused by the use of emergency lights in the absence of a visible emergency, and is concentrating on looking for students getting off the bus.

After inching forward extremely slowly, driver decides to make the left turn, by which time the vehicle has crept to the extreme passenger side of the intended street, and hits a lamp post mounted 12 inches from the curb on that street.

Driver goes home, which is 500 feet from the incident.

Witness in the meantime has called police (OPP), who arrive 30 minutes after driver gets home (with four cruisers).

Driver is issued three tickets for hitting the lamp post.

1. Sec. 200(1)(a) Fail to remain

2. Sec. 199(1) Fail to report

3. Sec. 130 Careless driving

These are our objections

Ticket 1 - Fail to remain

In my opinion the officer should have used Sec 201 "Notification of damage to tree, fences, etc.". This section includes lamp posts, which is what the driver hit. Shouldn't the ticket be invalid because there is a more accurate description of the facts in Sec 201? I have been told that the officer is allowed to change the ticket on the court date if necessary. Is this true?

Ticket 2 - Fail to report

This section refers to the property damage amount ("apparently exceeding" is the term), and expects the driver to rationally calculate the value of the lamp post in the heat of the moment. She has never had an accident before and was particularly shocked by the event. She arrived home agitated, and it took some time for her to calm down. Eventually it was decided to call the lamp post owner (the local municipal government), which was done the next morning. I think this ticket should be cancelled because it assumes that the post is over the prescribed amount and that the driver should know the value of lamp posts in the first place.

Ticket 3 - Careless driving

This section says "without due care and attention… for other persons using the highway". Our objection is that the driver was actually exercising large amounts of due care and attention toward other persons, specifically the children that might be getting off the bus. I think that something like an improper left turn ticket would have been more appropriate under the circumstances, given the lack of injury to any other person or vehicle.

Thank you in advance for any thoughts as to the validity of my concerns on these tickets. I just think 16 points for a lamp post is excessive, especially when you realize they're the same charges used against people who truly drive recklessly and cause serious personal injury accidents.

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Simon Borys
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Joined: Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:20 am

by: Simon Borys on

Where 2 charges apply, there's no obligation to use "the most" applicable.

Re: the value exceeding $1000, basically everything is over $1000 damage these days. If you can convince a judge that this particular lamp post wasn't apparently over $1000, then you may have a defence because of the language of the section, however it's not an automatic defence just because the section requires the driver to estimate the value of the damage.

With respect to the careless charge, again, something more specific might apply, but that doesn't mean careless doesn't. And what "without due care and attention" or "without reasonable consideration" means is a complicated issue with lots of case law on the subject.
Brian Smith
Posts: 17
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:17 am

by: Brian Smith on

We had a similar situation recently in town here. The girl drove a over a lamp post and blew the window out of her vehicle. She told her mother about the damage and her mother told her not to call the police. She then told the police, who located the damaged vehicle in her driveway, that she didn't realize she'd hit anything.

The statements we have for our case are fantastic and I would think that seeking representation would be a good idea.

Your situation sounds similar.

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