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Advice on what to do - failing to stop for school bus
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:41 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:23 am
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I would appreciate sensible advice on what I should do / what is likely to happen as a result of the following.

I approached a school bus on a 2 lane road, which was stopped on the opposite side and had the stop sign out and probably flashing lights. I am a new driver to Canada (less than 1 year but full licence) and have never encountered a stopped school bus before - this situation would also not occur in the UK as school children generally use normal public transit where no special laws apply. I slowed right down (literally crawling pace) as I was not sure what the law was for approaching from the opposite direction. As I approached the bus, and as there were no children crossing or looking to cross, I tried mouthing / gesturing to the driver whether I needed to stop, but did not get any sort of response. So I passed very hesitantly and knew I'd made a mistake as the driver who had stopped behind the bus made it clear.

Having searched the MTO site it appears I am likely to receive up to a $2000 fine and certainly 6 points. I feel terrible about this. I have no defense really apart from ignorance of the specific law. The bus driver is certain to report it, especially as I slowed down so much and therefore made it easy for a number plate identification to be made.

Based on the above and personal experience, is there likely to be any lenience in the punishment or a specific approach I should take. I am willing to take a punishment but wondered if I will get the full force of the law.

Thanks


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Re: Advice on what to do - failing to stop for school bus
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 10:38 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:49 pm
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Location: Ontario
If you weren't stopped by police at the time of the offence, it's unlikely you'll be charged as the driver, since that would require you being identified. More likely if they recorded your plate the registered owner of the vehicle will be charged. If you're charged as the registered owner, there are no demerit points. You'll also likely receive the default set fine (iirc $490).

You could possibly try requesting a reduction in the fine, but in my experience Courts are hesitant to offer breaks on more serious offences. The fact that you were unaware of the law will have no traction in Court.


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Re: Advice on what to do - failing to stop for school bus
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 10:53 am 
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Thanks for the post. Just to clarify - I am not the owner of the car (my wife is) but I am a named driver. Would it therefore be enough for the bus driver to identify the driver as male and thus it be obvious to anyone that it was me? Or would this level of confirmation require police intervention to hold up officially? While the fine is obviously not ideal I am very worried about the impact of this on insurance.


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Re: Advice on what to do - failing to stop for school bus
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:06 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:49 pm
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Location: Ontario
It is very unlikely the police would go to the effort of trying to identify the driver short of their being an accident or something similar. Being charged as the owner will not impact your insurance rates.


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Re: Advice on what to do - failing to stop for school bus
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 12:41 pm 
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Thanks. Reading through other posts it does seem likely that, if reported, it would have to be against the owner of the vehicle and not the driver, as this would require police presence at the time of the offence. I guess we should just expect a letter in the mail some time soon.

At the very least it is a stupid mistake I will not be making again.


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Re: Advice on what to do - failing to stop for school bus
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:21 pm 
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I just went to a traffic ticket paralegal firm (who shall remain unnamed) as was passing by. Quickly explained the situation and was told that all the bus driver would have to do is identify a male matching my description to be enough to charge me as the driver (rather than the vehicle owner route). They also said that this would not be mailed but instead the cops will come to my house. This kind of goes against a lot of what I am reading on here - but of course their job is to make me think the worst and that I will need representation?

My question is this - are they right and if so what is the timeframe for expecting a knock at the door? And if it is delivered in person, what is the likelihood that a 100km round trip would be made from a different region to issue this?


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