Driving without Headlights...Interpretation of Law

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Rdlz82
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Driving without Headlights...Interpretation of Law

by: Rdlz82 on
Sat Apr 23, 2011 1:50 am

So my luck (and arrogance) has finally run out. But I still need to understand if I'm interpreting Section 62(1) correctly.

Background: I've been driving around GTA for several months now with no headlights, only my fog lights on. I've done this pretentiously because of my interpretation and understanding of this particular section of the HTA. In this section of the HTA it states that only "lamps" (not headlights) are required to be mounted on both sides of the vehicle. Because "headlights" is not specified anywhere, I've taken this to understand that with my fog lights on, I should be okay. Now it does explain further what the strength of those lamps should be and that the light should be clearly discernable for a min. of 150m or more. And to be honest with you, i know my fog lights are not that strong, so if an officer ever did decide to pull out a measuring tape, I'd have no leg to stand on.

But I stumbled across this because of my first encounter being pulled over for the issue. Both my headlights were out (I've never had both working due to bad wiring and the other one blew) and the police stopped me. They were about to confiscate my vehicle but I put the fog lights on and they permitted me to go home that night. So curious, I read up on the law and sure enough, it doesn't state anywhere that headlights are necessary. So of course, me and my defiant self, continued to go around town without lights. I've actually been pulled over 3 times previously and talked my way out of it. They weren't exactly pleased with me informing them of the actual wording of the law, but sure enough each time they let me off. Of course, this was Peel Region, which in general tend to be the tougher set.

But last night my luck ran out when I hit up TPD. It wasn't even a cruiser or your standard constable, but instead one of those patrol fellas that were part of the RIDE stop programs. I'll reserve any belitting comments or opinion I have about these particular individuals. But even after stating the law to him, he still went ahead (after an extremely long time in the van) and wrote me up. He actually told me to go get it fixed, take a receipt and let the court throw it out. I think he actually knew that I was right, but decided that he'd give me the hassle anyway; basically a slap back in my own face I suppose. He also legitimately wrote me up for my license plate lights being out too; but with that I honestly didn't know it was out. :)

Anywho, the question is, if I take this to court, can I get it dropped. This time around, I will actually spend the money and get the lights fixed. In doing so, do I have a legitimate case? I would think so given that the prosecutor should have a duty to #1 ensure that the law is correctly enforced and protect individuals like me who might be wrongfully accused. And #2 protect the best interest of society (I know, too much Law TV for me.) But clearly I shouldn't have received this ticket (#1) and after fixing this issue with proof of receipts, they shouldn't have a moral dilmena with #2.

Putting aside your personal opinions of me, do you think I have a legitimate chance here; provided I keep my mouth in order?


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by: Stanton on
Sat Apr 23, 2011 4:06 am

I don't follow. You say you were given the ticket in error, but also admit that your lights don't meet the requirements for lamps under the HTA. The HTA states that at night you require two lights at the front that are visible from 150m away and also illuminate 110m of road ahead of you. If your fog lamps can't do that, the ticket is legit. You're also probably lucky your vehicle wasn't towed.

I don't know what your chances of getting the ticket dropped are. The reasons why you think it should be dropped are fantasy. It's more likely to be dropped simply because it isn't worth the Crown's time to force a trial for something that has been fixed and there was no accident.


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by: hwybear on
Sat Apr 23, 2011 10:02 am

Add to Stanton - even the daytime running lights (which is high beams operating on a tiny amount of power) do NOT meet requirements of a headlight as they do not have enough power to illuminate the surface of the road.

and why would anyone "not" want to see or "be seen" at night is simply baffling
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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by: Rdlz82 on
Sun Apr 24, 2011 1:12 pm

Hi Stanton,

The reason I'm saying that my ticket should not be valid is based on the fact that the officer gave me that ticket on the incorrect perception that "headlights" are required. The ticket says "Drive without headlights - motor vehicle" 62(1). My argument is that based on what he wrote and what the section referenced that this is not an infraction, therefore I cannot (or should not) be guilty of an infraction that does not exist. "In theory" with strong enough fog lights, it shouldn't matter whether my headlights are out or not.

All I admitted - to this forum - was that if he had measured the distance of illumination from my fog lights that it probably would fall short of that 150m. But that wasn't the case during the stop, he didn't inform me of that or tell me the strength of my fog lights weren't enough. He simply ticketed me on the fact that I'm missing headlights.

Perhaps your right, maybe it is fantasy to take that argument to the crown. You folks in the forum might know this better than I do. I'm simply trying to reiterate my understanding of this law and cross reference it to my particular scenario. Nonetheless, I will get them fixed to strengthen my argument in hopes of getting the ticket completely dropped.


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by: hwybear on
Sun Apr 24, 2011 2:02 pm

As per Transport Canada - which over rides HTA for vehicle requirements
- headlamp must have an "upper and a lower beam" and be located on each side of the vehicle as possible plus be greater than 559mm (22") and less than 1372mm (54") from the road surface
If you want to peruse Transport Canada - only 94 pages
http://www.tc.gc.ca/roadsafety/safevehi ... rev4_e.pdf
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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by: Squishy on
Sun Apr 24, 2011 6:57 pm

That is the correct wording for a charge under HTA 62(1). You can look it up under O.Reg 950. "Drive without proper headlights — motor vehicle"

Hwybear, how would you charge for TC violations? I see in some other provinces that their MVA/HTA has a section stating that all vehicles are to meet TC requirements or at least CMVSS. Nothing like that under the Ontario HTA that I can find. Would the ticket directly reference the TC standards document?
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by: viper1 on
Sun Apr 24, 2011 10:52 pm

Rdlz82 wrote:Hi Stanton,

The reason I'm saying that my ticket should not be valid is based on the fact that the officer gave me that ticket on the incorrect perception that "headlights" are required. The ticket says "Drive without headlights - motor vehicle" 62(1). My argument is that based on what he wrote and what the section referenced that this is not an infraction, therefore I cannot (or should not) be guilty of an infraction that does not exist. "In theory" with strong enough fog lights, it shouldn't matter whether my headlights are out or not.

All I admitted - to this forum - was that if he had measured the distance of illumination from my fog lights that it probably would fall short of that 150m. But that wasn't the case during the stop, he didn't inform me of that or tell me the strength of my fog lights weren't enough. He simply ticketed me on the fact that I'm missing headlights.

Perhaps your right, maybe it is fantasy to take that argument to the crown. You folks in the forum might know this better than I do. I'm simply trying to reiterate my understanding of this law and cross reference it to my particular scenario. Nonetheless, I will get them fixed to strengthen my argument in hopes of getting the ticket completely dropped.
Strength of lamps

(6) Lamps on the front of a motor vehicle shall be so constructed, located, arranged and adjusted that when lighted as required by subsections (1), (2) and (3) they produce under normal atmospheric conditions and on a level road a driving light sufficient to render clearly discernible to the operator of the motor vehicle any person or vehicle on the highway within a distance of 110 metres ahead of the motor vehicle. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 62 (6).
Maybe the ticket should have said "lamps"

You can argue about distance etc. but it will most likley be dropped if you have fixed them lol.
Ask for night court and get every one out-side to measure the distance.lol

I agree with HWYbear why would you want to drive with-out lights?

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Viper1
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use at your own risk"


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by: hwybear on
Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:09 am

Squishy wrote:Hwybear, how would you charge for TC violations? I see in some other provinces that their MVA/HTA has a section stating that all vehicles are to meet TC requirements or at least CMVSS. Nothing like that under the Ontario HTA that I can find. Would the ticket directly reference the TC standards document?
I don't know how to charge under TC, however, would use the HTA charge and use the TC standards as evidence of minimal standards required on all vehicles. That is just how I would go about it in this situation as a fog light does not have a upper and lower beam as required by TC for a headlight, therefore driving a motor vehicle - without proper headlights
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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by: Simon Borys on
Mon Apr 25, 2011 11:07 pm

When I had a person claiming their fog lights were head lights for the purpose of 62(1), I charged under O/Reg 596 s. 2(1) for the lack of high/low beam capability. It's an $85/110 fine as well. The section reads:

2. (1) Subject to section 3, the headlamps on a motor vehicle shall be capable of projecting at least two beams, so controlled that only one beam can be selected for use by the driver of the motor vehicle at any one time according to the requirements of traffic. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 596, s. 2 (1).

(2) One beam shall be a lower or passing beam so aimed that none of the high intensity portion of the beam that is directed,

(a) to the left of the vehicle, is higher than 127 millimetres below; or

(b) to the right of the vehicle, is higher than,

the horizontal line through the centre of the headlamp from which it comes, at a distance of 7.6 metres ahead of the headlamp, when the vehicle is not loaded, and the high intensity portion of the lower or passing beam shall not rise higher than 1.07 metres above the level on which the vehicle stands at a distance of 22.9 metres ahead of the vehicle. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 596, s. 2 (2).
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by: Rdlz82 on
Tue Apr 26, 2011 4:57 pm

Simon Borys wrote:When I had a person claiming their fog lights were head lights for the purpose of 62(1), I charged under O/Reg 596 s. 2(1) for the lack of high/low beam capability. It's an $85/110 fine as well.
Squishy wrote:That is the correct wording for a charge under HTA 62(1). You can look it up under O.Reg 950. "Drive without proper headlights — motor vehicle"
Where can/do I find these documents online?


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by: Stanton on
Tue Apr 26, 2011 5:55 pm

Canadian Legal Information Institute is a good source: http://www.canlii.org/en/
2. (1) Subject to section 3, the headlamps on a motor vehicle shall be capable of projecting at least two beams, so controlled that only one beam can be selected for use by the driver of the motor vehicle at any one time according to the requirements of traffic. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 596, s. 2 (1).
(2) One beam shall be a lower or passing beam so aimed that none of the high intensity portion of the beam that is directed,
(a) to the left of the vehicle, is higher than 127 millimetres below; or
(b) to the right of the vehicle, is higher than,
the horizontal line through the centre of the headlamp from which it comes, at a distance of 7.6 metres ahead of the headlamp, when the vehicle is not loaded, and the high intensity portion of the lower or passing beam shall not rise higher than 1.07 metres above the level on which the vehicle stands at a distance of 22.9 metres ahead of the vehicle. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 596, s. 2 (2).
Ontario Regulation 596: http://www.canlii.org/en/on/laws/regu/r ... g-596.html
Lamps required on all motor vehicles except motorcycles
62. (1) When on a highway at any time from one-half hour before sunset to one-half hour after sunrise and at any other time when, due to insufficient light or unfavourable atmospheric conditions, persons and vehicles on the highway are not clearly discernible at a distance of 150 metres or less, every motor vehicle other than a motorcycle shall carry three lighted lamps in a conspicuous position, one on each side of the front of the vehicle which shall display a white or amber light only, and one on the rear of the vehicle which shall display a red light only. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 62 (1).
Strength of lamps
(6) Lamps on the front of a motor vehicle shall be so constructed, located, arranged and adjusted that when lighted as required by subsections (1), (2) and (3) they produce under normal atmospheric conditions and on a level road a driving light sufficient to render clearly discernible to the operator of the motor vehicle any person or vehicle on the highway within a distance of 110 metres ahead of the motor vehicle. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 62 (6).
Ontario Highway Traffic Act: http://www.canlii.org/en/on/laws/stat/r ... -c-h8.html
Short form wordings under Ontario Regulation 950: http://www.canlii.org/en/on/laws/regu/r ... g-950.html


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by: Simon Borys on
Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:49 pm

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