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Illegal Usage of Stop Sign?
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 4:33 pm 
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Location: Belleville, ON
My wife was ticketed for not stopping at a stop sign. This is out of character, as she is a cautious driver, licensed for many years with driver’s ed.

When discussing with her she said she only sensed she went through the sign after, because there is no highway intersection at the stop sign.

The configuration of signs and signals at this location is very confusing. I cannot determine if this usage is in keeping with the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, but I suspect not. I believe it contravenes the guidelines in the Ontario Traffic Manual due to misuse of a stop sign, and multiple signages creating confusion for drivers.

As I was out examining the location and taking pictures, I observed multiple vehicles failing to make stops at this particular sign. The officer who gave her the ticket sounded like he was a railway employee (sign on railway right-of way?). Do such officers exist?

The officer stated he was there to enforce the stop as it was being ignored, or words to that effect, and that he had charged many people.

Details:
This is a north-south paved country road, 2 lanes, 60 kph, and light residential area. The north end of the road terminates at a “T” junction with a higher traffic double lane road.

At that “T” intersection there is a yield sign. There is also visible on the north side of the intersection a yellow checkerboard double arrowhead sign showing left/right turn only. Beside this is a green highway identification sign. There is an offset dead end road that continues on the north of the intersection with “No Exit” sign.

South of the intersection some 20 feet, there is a double railroad crossing. This crossing is fitted with barriers (red lamps on the arms), double flashing red lights facing both ways, the white “X” outlined in red, and a sign with a “2” and a picture depicting tracks under the 2. Some 5 feet in front of the barrier there is a double white line painted on the roadway. This I believe is a standard configuration used for railroad crossings with high speed trains.

However, approximately 15 feet south of the railway barrier there is a stop sign stuck on the side of the road. There is no intersection nor painted road lines to indicate where or why to stop. This is the stop sign in question.

I believe the outcome they were trying to achieve in doing this is to ensure cars don’t end up stopping on the railroad tracks. There is however a rectangular yellow “No stopping on Tracks” plus a yellow diamond railroad crossing sign and white painted “X”approaching the tracks. (Strangely they chose not to use the more visible yellow diamond shaped “Do not stop on Railroad Tracks” )

Confused?? Try driving the road for the first time!

Just to clarify, here is what you see approaching the north end of the road from the south.
First, a yellow diamond indicating “stop sign ahead”.
Then a yellow diamond indicating “railroad crossing ahead”
Then a white “X” painted on the road
Then a yellow rectangular “No Stopping on Tracks”
Then immediately before the railroad barrier a red “STOP” sign
Then the standard double white line for the railroad barrier
Immediately followed by the barrier installation with lights and signs/signals.
Two sets of tracks
A yield sign at the “T” junction.

From what I’ve read a railroad crossing is not defined as a highway intersection, and therefore the use of a stop sign where no intersection exists is contrary to the highway traffic act. It is also unnecessary given the redundancy of signs.

The city passed a By-Law in 2007 to install this stop sign, but I haven’t read it yet to determine if it addressed this particular configuration.

While I sympathize with the intent to deal with a bad road/railroad configuration, I don’t believe drivers should face heft fines and demerit points for this situation.

How many accidents caused by not stopping at this sign?? None, as there is no opposing traffic. Will it prevent traffic from being on the tracks?? No, the stop is only momentary and traffic proceeds onto the tracks.

Please provide me some advice on how to proceed with this.

Unfortunately she was talked into signing the guilty option on the ticket for a meeting next Friday with the prosecutor to possibly “reduce the penalty”. Can a change of plea be made at this point?


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 6:42 pm 
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Sounds like the charge was laid under s. 163(2).

Drivers approaching stop sign at the railway crossing must stop at the marked stop line or no less than five meters from nearest rail of the railway.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 7:50 pm 
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seeing the picture it makes sense thou to have the stop sign where it is.

I believe it is there b/c the tracks are so close to the intersection.

If the stop sign was moved to the yield sign location , the drivers might not be able to turn (or even get out of the way) in time if a train was coming due to traffic on the cross road.

The stop sign makes drivers stop, prior to the tracks. Forcing them pretty much to take a look down the tracks prior to crossing.

- only alternate solution would be for the munipality to install traffic lights at that intersection, with the one light "prior" to the tracks and also in conjunction with the tracks lighting system.

just my 2cents

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2009 3:18 pm 
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Thanks for the replies lads. I agree with what you're saying.

Still, 163 (1) and (2) implies to me to be mutually exclusive - that a railway crossing would have either barriers/signals or a stop sign, not both. I don't ever recall seeing such a configuration other than in this region.

Vehicles required to stop at railway crossing signal

163. (1) When the driver of a vehicle is approaching a railway crossing at a time when a clearly visible electrical or mechanical signal device or a flagman is giving warning of the approach of a railway train, he or she shall stop the vehicle not less than 5 metres from the nearest rail of the railway and shall not proceed until he or she can do so safely. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 163.

Stop signs at railway crossings

(2) Every driver of a vehicle approaching a stop sign at a railway crossing shall, unless otherwise directed by a flagman, stop the vehicle at the marked stop line or, if none, then not less than five metres from the nearest rail of the railway, and shall not proceed until he or she can do so safely. 2002, c. 18, Sched. P, s. 30.


Book 5 of the Ontario Traffic Manual states:

A STOP sign must be installed in accordance with the Regulations in order to be effective and enforceable.

The STOP sign must be installed on the right side of the roadway, facing traffic, no closer than 1.5 m and no further than 15 m from the edge of the intersecting roadway, unless it is clearly not practicable to locate the STOP sign closer to the intersection.


Further:

STOP signs should, therefore, not be used indiscriminately.

STOP signs must not be used on the same approach to an intersection where traffic control signals are operating, as the conflicting commands of two types of control devices would be confusing.

STOP signs are not intended to be used as speed control devices. Their usage should be limited to the control of right-of-way conflicts.



And again in the Highway Traffic Act:

Stop signs, erection at intersections

137. In addition to stop signs required at intersections on through highways,

(a) the council of a municipality may by by-law provide for the erection of stop signs at intersections on highways under its jurisdiction; and

(b) the Minister may by regulation designate intersections on the King’s Highway at which stop signs shall be erected,

and every sign so erected shall comply with the regulations of the Ministry. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 137; 2002, c. 17, Sched. F, Table.


This is why I'm wondering about the legality of such a configuration.
a) is a railroad crossing defined as an intersection for the purposes of these 2 documents
b) would the use of both stop sign and railroad signals/barriers be valid
c) Does the Ontario Traffic Manual have legal or interpretive weight when it comes to the Highway traffic act.

I realize that the scope of these questions may require legal interpretation and go beyond the scope of this board, but I'm wondering if there has been any precedence in this area.

However this effort may be useless unless we can change the plea at this point - any advice on this?


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2009 5:43 pm 
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Going to seperate this into 2 sections and what applies.

SECTION 1 - applies to RAILWAY crossings

Bill_Payer wrote:
Thanks for the replies lads. I agree with what you're saying.

Still, 163 (1) and (2) implies to me to be mutually exclusive - that a railway crossing would have either barriers/signals or a stop sign, not both. I don't ever recall seeing such a configuration other than in this region.

Vehicles required to stop at railway crossing signal

163. (1) When the driver of a vehicle is approaching a railway crossing at a time when a clearly visible electrical or mechanical signal device or a flagman is giving warning of the approach of a railway train, he or she shall stop the vehicle not less than 5 metres from the nearest rail of the railway and shall not proceed until he or she can do so safely. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 163.

Stop signs at railway crossings

(2) Every driver of a vehicle approaching a stop sign at a railway crossing shall, unless otherwise directed by a flagman, stop the vehicle at the marked stop line or, if none, then not less than five metres from the nearest rail of the railway, and shall not proceed until he or she can do so safely. 2002, c. 18, Sched. P, s. 30.



SECTION 2 - applies to INTERSECTIONS

Quote:
Book 5 of the Ontario Traffic Manual states:

A STOP sign must be installed in accordance with the Regulations in order to be effective and enforceable.

The STOP sign must be installed on the right side of the roadway, facing traffic, no closer than 1.5 m and no further than 15 m from the edge of the intersecting roadway, unless it is clearly not practicable to locate the STOP sign closer to the intersection.


Further:

STOP signs should, therefore, not be used indiscriminately.

STOP signs must not be used on the same approach to an intersection where traffic control signals are operating, as the conflicting commands of two types of control devices would be confusing.

STOP signs are not intended to be used as speed control devices. Their usage should be limited to the control of right-of-way conflicts.



And again in the Highway Traffic Act:

Stop signs, erection at intersections

137. In addition to stop signs required at intersections on through highways,

(a) the council of a municipality may by by-law provide for the erection of stop signs at intersections on highways under its jurisdiction; and

(b) the Minister may by regulation designate intersections on the King’s Highway at which stop signs shall be erected,

and every sign so erected shall comply with the regulations of the Ministry. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 137; 2002, c. 17, Sched. F, Table.


Quote:
This is why I'm wondering about the legality of such a configuration.
a) is a railroad crossing defined as an intersection for the purposes of these 2 documents

NO, a railroad crossing is not an intersection
Quote:
b) would the use of both stop sign and railroad signals/barriers be valid

Yes.
163(1) requires a vehicle to stop for lights,barrier or a flagman. Lights/barriers are triggered by an approaching train...and flagman would be there where repairing the crossing and see the approaching train
163(2) requires a vehicle to stop at all times

The lights/barriers are added safety to obviously a dangerous crossing, probably more so from someone on the parallel road trying to "beat the train" and come across the tracks.
Quote:
c) Does the Ontario Traffic Manual have legal or interpretive weight when it comes to the Highway traffic act.

unknown - I would guess that the HTA trumps the Manual. HTA is legislated into law, where as OTM is best practice guidelines for building roads (how much dirt, depth of ditches, grading, signs, barrier placement etc..)

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Above is merely a suggestion/thought and in no way constitutes legal advice or views of my employer. www.OHTA.ca


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2009 5:51 pm 
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Quote:
Book 5 of the Ontario Traffic Manual states:

A STOP sign must be installed in accordance with the Regulations in order to be effective and enforceable.

appears the sign is proper in size, colour
Quote:
The STOP sign must be installed on the right side of the roadway, facing traffic, no closer than 1.5 m and no further than 15 m from the edge of the intersecting roadway, unless it is clearly not practicable to locate the STOP sign closer to the intersection.

does not appear practicable to locate the sign closer to the intersection as parking on the tracks or having the rear of the vehicle on the tracks does not make sense

Quote:
Further:
STOP signs should, therefore, not be used indiscriminately.

intersection and railway

Quote:
STOP signs must not be used on the same approach to an intersection where traffic control signals are operating, as the conflicting commands of two types of control devices would be confusing.

no traffic control signal at this location

Quote:
STOP signs are not intended to be used as speed control devices. Their usage should be limited to the control of right-of-way conflicts.

2 right of way conflicts - railway and another highway

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Above is merely a suggestion/thought and in no way constitutes legal advice or views of my employer. www.OHTA.ca


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:59 am 
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Thanks for your comprehensive response hwybear.

Just a short point here, didn't have time to do much further research...

If the railway crossing is not an intersection, then the only intersection is the one controlled by the yield sign (in this instance, as shown in the picture). The Hwy Traffic Act only authorizes municipalities to erect stop signs at intersections, so where is their municipality's authority to erect a stop sign (via by-law) at the railway crossing?

i.e. the intersection is already controlled by a yield sign - you can't have both a yield sign and a stop sign controlling the same intersection...can you?

Regards


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 7:11 am 
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Bill_Payer wrote:
. The Hwy Traffic Act only authorizes municipalities to erect stop signs at intersections, so where is their municipality's authority to erect a stop sign (via by-law) at the railway crossing?

HTA OREG 615 sec 46 allows all levels of gov't to install any prescribed sign.

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Revisit Stop Sign
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 11:51 pm 
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So here's my current evaluation...

The charge was written as:
Offense: Disobey Stop Sign - Fail to Stop
Contrary to: Highway Traffic Act 136 (1) (a)

Which reads
136. (1) Every driver or street car operator approaching a stop sign at an intersection,
(a) shall stop his or her vehicle or street car at a marked stop line or, if none, then immediately before entering the nearest crosswalk or, if none, then immediately before entering the intersection;

So we are talking about an intersection here, nothing to do with railway (even though it was a railway cop monitoring the site).

Looking at R.R.O. 1990, REGULATION 615 it states:

7. A stop sign shall be erected on the right side of the highway, facing approaching traffic, at a point not less than 1.5 metres and not more than 15 metres from the intersecting roadway or the nearest rail at a railway crossing. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 615, s. 7; O. Reg. 63/06, s. 1.

So the stop sign is not compliant with the HTA, and should therefore not be enforceable (greater than 15 m. away).

For the italicized part of O Reg 615 Sect 7 part to be applicable the charge would have had to have been under HTA 163 (2):
Every driver of a vehicle approaching a stop sign at a railway crossing shall, unless otherwise directed by a flagman, stop the vehicle at the marked stop line or, if none, then not less than five metres from the nearest rail of the railway, and shall not proceed until he or she can do so safely.

Does that make sense? Either the sign is for the intersection or it is for the railway...


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Re: Revisit Stop Sign
PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:56 am 
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Bill_Payer wrote:
Looking at R.R.O. 1990, REGULATION 615 it states:

7. A stop sign shall be erected on the right side of the highway, facing approaching traffic, at a point not less than 1.5 metres and not more than 15 metres from the intersecting roadway or the nearest rail at a railway crossing. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 615, s. 7; O. Reg. 63/06, s. 1.

So the stop sign is not compliant with the HTA, and should therefore not be enforceable (greater than 15 m. away).


The stop sign is compliant with the HTA as it is within 15m of the nearest rail, therefore controls the railway.

Just an FYI (not reflective of this incident) but those that do not know, the CN or CP police have full authority even off the railway.

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Revisit Stop Sign
PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:51 am 
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Thanks for the response hwybear.

I wouldn't think that to be the case.

If O Reg 615 (7) were to be interpreted as you suggest, then the appropriate charge would be under HTA 163 (2) (stop sign at a railway crossing).

Reg. 63/06, s. 1. (the italicized part) was added to O Reg 615 to cover stop signs erected at railway crossings as opposed to stop signs at intersections.

The two are different - otherwise a stop sign could be posted at a railway any distance from an intersection and deemed to control the intersection in compliance with the HTA.

2) Do you know what legislation controls stop signs at a railway crossings? It seems the railway company is responsible for railway crossing signs, and the road authority is responsinle for stop signs at grade crossings http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/railsafety/railsafety-333.htm


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Re: Revisit Stop Sign
PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:16 pm 
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Bill_Payer wrote:
If O Reg 615 (7) were to be interpreted as you suggest, then the appropriate charge would be under HTA 163 (2) (stop sign at a railway crossing).

With that picture, I would agree with 163(2).

Quote:
Reg. 63/06, s. 1. (th e italicized part) was added to O Reg 615 to cover stop signs erected at railway crossings as opposed to stop signs at intersections.
The two are different - otherwise a stop sign could be posted at a railway any distance from an intersection and deemed to control the intersection in compliance with the HTA.

I think the italics part was added for clarity. A stop sign must be within 15m of the railway OR 15m of the intersection.

Again, your picture shows the railway controlled by a stop sign within 15m and the intersection controlled by a yield sign within 15m.

Quote:
2) Do you know what legislation controls stop signs at a railway crossings? It seems the railway company is responsible for railway crossing signs, and the road authority is responsinble for stop signs at grade crossings http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/railsafety/railsafety-333.htm
The HTA covers the signs at the railway, same as the HTA covers those drivers that don't stop for the flashing lights or go around the barriers.

As to who determines whether a sign is placed in this instance or not...I have no clue.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:46 am 
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where did the photo go? wanted to reference it again...

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 1:28 pm 
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copied from locked post

Bill_Payer wrote:
As an example, being charged under OHTA 136 (1) (a) "Stop at Through Highway":

The ticket specifies the offence as "Disobey Stop Sign - Fail to Stop"

1) Where are these official offence descriptions specified?

Ticket states the Contrary To as "Highway Traffic Act, section 136(1)(a)"

2) How do I know the offence description properly relates to the "Contrary To" section.

3) What does the Prosecution have to prove (in this case)?
The officer's written statement describes location of a stop sign, but states only "The vehicle did not stop at the sign and proceeded across..."

He then describes issuing the ticket, specifying the offence as per above

Is this sufficient proof of the offense, or does he specifically have to state his observations per the description of 136 (1) (a).
I.E. Did not stop at marked stop line, or before entering intersection,...?

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 5:00 pm 
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Hi hwybear,

hwybear wrote:
where did the photo go? wanted to reference it again...


Not sure hwtbear...possibly the file hosting site took it down and it must not be stored on this site (www.OHTA.com).


****UPDATE *******
After clicking on the broken picture link ICON in the very first post of this thread. the picture has reappeared magically!

Bit strange...!



And re the cross post, as the topic was of a general nature, and not specific to this incident I thought it best to post in the general section, so that it wouldn't get buried in the body of the post "Illegal use of stop sign".

I'll weigh the options more carefully next time.

p.s. Any answers on the questions from the locked post??

Regards,...


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