Using Centre Lane Improperly

Marquisse
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Using Centre Lane Improperly

by: Marquisse on
Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:52 am

Hi there,

Received a Ticket quoting Section 154(1)(b) of the HTA while driving on a 5 lane highway (two lanes designated in each direction plus a middle centre lane for left turns) in the City of Hamilton on Friday. I was travelling westbound and signalled to make a left hand turn, went into the centre lane designated for both directions to make the left turn, but failed to make the turn because I missed the residential street (streets are poorly indicated and I do not know Waterdown as I've only been there once before). I decided to re-merge with westbound traffic to make the next turn, but Officer (going eastbound) made a u-turn and ticketed me for using the centre lane improperly, telling me that I used the centre lane as a passing lane. I explained to him that I missed the left turn and re-merged with traffic, but he said that he was giving me the ticket because in his estimation I was going "a little fast". I told him that my speed was according to the limit and that I had re-accelerated to merge with traffic. I received no speeding ticket, and I was not speeding according to the posted limit anyhow. He said I was going a little fast for a left turn, and I told him that the street was poorly indicated, so I had aborted the left hand turn and accelerated to merge back in with traffic as I felt I couldn't make the turn safely, and that is why he perceived my speed as "a little fast" for the turn.

When I read the section of the HTA, it doesn't make sense to me. Firstly, I thought three lane highways were those such as QEW, and not 5 lane highways. Do they refer to the centre lane that is used by both directions as the "third" lane? Then, it says that "a vehicle shall not be driven in the centre lane except when overtaking and passing another vehicle where the roadway is clearly visible and the centre lane is clear of traffic within a reasonable safe distance, or in preparation for a left turn".

If this is the right subsection, I don't see where I used the centre lane improperly given that this subsection allows me to do what I did, which was to use the centre lane to make the left turn, aborted it, and re-merged with traffic in a safe manner. My intention was to turn left but I did end up coming out ahead of the vehicle that was directly ahead of me before I signalled to the centre lane because I had decellerated down from about 55km, he was doing about 40-45 in a 60km zone (and had accumulated a line behind him, with the driver behind me closing in behind him thus preventing me from re-merging in my old spot), so I accellerated because I needed to get out of the turning lane, and he was just a little bit behind me when I aborted the turn (the nose of his vehicle was at my front passenger door). In any event, the subsection allows this according to the bolded print above, so I am a little confused.

Could someone provide some clarification on this section of the HTA? The last ticket I got was for having my front licence plate removed (somebody ripped it off while it was parked on the street unbeknownst to me, so I didn't even know it was gone!!!) in 1995, so I haven't had this situation happen to me, and especially not a moving violation such as this. I'm a bit taken aback. I am also a paralegal (but in Real Estate) so while I did study the HTA along with the POA, it's not in practice. I know a little knowledge is more dangerous than none at all, so I am here hoping someone can clear this up for me. Many, MANY thanks in advance.


Where highway divided into lanes - 154.

(1) Where a highway has been divided into clearly marked lanes for traffic,

(a) a vehicle shall be driven as nearly as may be practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from the lane until the driver has first ascertained that the movement can be made with safety;

(b) in the case of a highway that is divided into three lanes, a vehicle shall not be driven in the centre lane except when overtaking and passing another vehicle where the roadway is clearly visible and the centre lane is clear of traffic within a reasonable safe distance, or in preparation for a left turn, or where the centre lane is at the time designated for the use of traffic moving in the direction in which the vehicle is proceeding and official signs are erected to indicate the designation;

(c) any lane may be designated for slowly moving traffic, traffic moving in a particular direction or classes or types of vehicles and, despite section 141, where a lane is so designated and official signs indicating the designation are erected, every driver shall obey the instructions on the official signs. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 154 (1).

Exception

(2) Where safety is not jeopardized, clauses (1) (b) and (c) do not apply to road service vehicles and clause (1) (c) does not apply to road-building machines or apparatus while engaged in the construction of a highway. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 154 (2).
Last edited by Marquisse on Wed Jul 15, 2009 3:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Reflections
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by: Reflections on
Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:53 am

Unfortunately you can't really argue on the road side. You'll have to explain the situation in court.
http://www.OHTA.ca OR http://www.OntarioTrafficAct.com


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by: Marquisse on
Tue Jul 14, 2009 11:12 am

Hi Reflections, thanks for your response.

There was no argument, and actually the both of us were quite professional and pleasant despite the circumstances. An explanation of what transpired when he first approached my car and told me I used the centre lane for passing was really all that took place, and he was also gracious enough to give me directions to the street I was actually looking for when I asked.

I did correct him though when he told me it was zero points. :wink:

I'm still not understanding why this Section was cited when it says that the centre lane CAN be used in such a manner?


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by: Lawman on
Tue Jul 14, 2009 12:17 pm

Did you receive an offence notice or summons along with the certificate of offence?

If Waterdown is not part of a prescribed part of Ontario within the meaning of the POA your ticket is unenforcable. Check the list below, if Waterdown is not within the list it is not within a prescribed part of Ontario.

Therefore, if you received an offence notice (not a summons) and you're not within prescribed part of Ontario COMPLETELY IGNORE THE TICKET.

The court cannot set a trial date unless you foolishly give notice of an intention to appear in court.

Prescribed part of Ontario

http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/regs/e ... 0950_e.htm

City of Hamilton

City of Kawartha Lakes

City of Ottawa

City of Toronto

County of Dufferin

County of Essex

County of Haliburton

County of Northumberland

County of Peterborough

District Municipality of Muskoka

Haldimand County

Regional Municipality of Durham

Regional Municipality of Halton

Regional Municipality of Peel

Regional Municipality of Waterloo

Regional Municipality of York


Marquisse
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by: Marquisse on
Tue Jul 14, 2009 12:51 pm

Hi Lawman,

Waterdown is a part of the City of Hamilton due to an amalgamation that took place in January 2001.

The only other thing I received with the ticket (yellow) was the slip to include if/when I made my payment (the size of the envelope), and the envelope to use if/when I mailed in payment.

I don't think I received a summons(?).

I was going to ask for a first attendance this week and plea for dismissal or for at least a 0 points. If it was refused by the Prosecutor I was going to then request disclosure and then get a paralegal to represent me in trial.

I just spoke to a lawyer and to a paralegal. The lawyer said that the ticket cites the wrong section for the road I was driving on, and the paralegal said that it was the right section but was just as confused as I as to the subsection given that it allows for passing AND left hand turns?

I am REALLY confused now.


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by: Reflections on
Tue Jul 14, 2009 1:22 pm

Marquisse wrote:I am REALLY confused now.

Welcome to the law........ :D
http://www.OHTA.ca OR http://www.OntarioTrafficAct.com


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by: Marquisse on
Tue Jul 14, 2009 1:46 pm

Welcome to the law........
Hahaha, you aren't kidding!

This isn't my first introduction. I'm a real estate paralegal, so I know how confusing it is.

I'm hoping that someone here knows how ss154(1)(b) is interpreted and applied, as I'm either reading it wrong, or the officer was, and so far the paralegals and lawyer I've contact have said that it's either the wrong section or that the charge doesn't make sense given that the section allows for it.

How can I be charged with using the centre lane improperly with the officer saying I improperly used the centre lane as a passing/overtaking of another vehicle when subsection 154(1)(b) says that it is permissable!?


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by: Lawman on
Tue Jul 14, 2009 3:13 pm

I just read your first message. Very interesting. HTA s. 154(1)(b) does say you can use the turning lane as a passing lane.

You committed no violation.

Use the French Languge Service Act defence in addition to arguing you violated no s. 154 provision.

The turning lane being used as a passing lane is funny!


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by: Marquisse on
Tue Jul 14, 2009 3:42 pm

Hi Lawman,

Thank you VERY much for your response. So I am NOT reading it wrong, then. Phiew :? . I even read it upside down to give it another perspective, lol.

Can you explain briefly what the French Language Service Act defense is? If I can stretch my memory back to school, is it when the ticket must be in both official languages to be "on it's face" legitimate according to the POA? I'll have to check the ticket tonight, as I don't remember if the little sections on that small rectangular yellow sheet offered descriptions simultaneously in English and in French.

Honestly, can I argue that with a straight face to the prosecutor? I will do it, but it's very technical (just like 50% of my other argument). Also, I will not have the chance to have a First Attendance; only to request a trial date and maybe see the prosecutor 15 minutes before court starts on the day of my trial. I'll request disclosure once I receive my trial date notice. They only offer First Attendances to those with Careless Driving, speeding over 49km, etc.

Also, is this a strict liability charge?


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by: Lawman on
Tue Jul 14, 2009 4:23 pm

The French defence is that the street sign is not bilingual, the cop never spoke to you in both languages, and the text the cop added to the ticket is not in both languages.

There is a thread or two on this site relating to the issue. You'd have to look for them. If you click on my name and search all my posts you'll find it quite easily.

The penalty for s. 154 falls under s. 214. In my view this is an absolute liability offence given the penalty states you are guilty. This means you can only attack the cop’s evidence, and you can still beat the ticket on his evidence, because his evidence will not demonstrate you violated the provision.

If on the other hand the court claims its a strict liability, you can file your due diligence defence. But it's impossible to have a due diligence defence in this case, because you haven't violated any law.


General penalty

214. (1) Every person who contravenes this Act or any regulation is guilty of an offence and on conviction, where a penalty for the contravention is not otherwise provided for herein, is liable to a fine of not less than $60 and not more than $500.

Cop’s evidence: I gave him a ticket because he was using the middle lane as a passing lane.
Justice: But the turning lane can legally be used as a passing lane under the section you charged him under.
Cop: Really?
Cop: Well, he was going too fast in the passing lane.
Justice: But you never gave him a speeding ticket.
Cop: Oh I know that, he wasn’t speeding; he was just going too fast.


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by: Radar Identified on
Tue Jul 14, 2009 5:30 pm

Lawman wrote:Therefore, if you received an offence notice (not a summons) and you're not within prescribed part of Ontario COMPLETELY IGNORE THE TICKET.
Have you successfully used this defence in court (or any of your other theories for that matter)?


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by: Lawman on
Tue Jul 14, 2009 6:17 pm

Just created that bulletproof defence yesterday.

The comedy of it all is that the POA is 19 years old. Ontario has over 10,000 lawyers, and thousands of paralegals, hundreds of lawmaking politicians, yet no one but me spotted this massive fatal flaw in the POA.

Look for yourself.

http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statut ... e.htm#BK73

Try and point out how the court can set a trial date for those not in a prescribed part of Ontario when the accused does not serve an intention to appear.

No provision exist, and if you claim otherwise, please post the section.


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by: Squishy on
Wed Jul 15, 2009 1:42 am

I think the wrong clause was cited. From what the officer seems to think you did, (c) looks like the correct clause - official signs (or lane markings) were present indicating that the centre lane is only to be used as a turning lane.

I'm not entirely familiar with that area, but I think it's actually a five-lane road - a centre lane with two lanes for each direction. In that case I don't think 154 (1) (b) applies at all.
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by: Marquisse on
Wed Jul 15, 2009 7:37 am

Yes, I think (c) is the correct one as well considering what the officer said he thought I did. So I will argue that I committed no violation based on the law cited on the Certificate of Offense, but they can give the officer an opportunity to change the charge within six months, can't they? It seems quite unjust that they allow this, but it may be that my trial won't be for 4-6 months anyway. If that happens and the section is changed, what do I argue, the French Language Act defense? Has anyone used that defense and the judge allowed it?

This is a first for me in court, so I'm VERY green and nervous. I don't want to make an arse of myself.


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by: Marquisse on
Wed Jul 15, 2009 3:31 pm

I need opinions, plz!

This is what I'm thinking on this. I go to trial and as a defense tell the justice that I did not commit an offense because the subsection 154(1)(b) cited specifically allows what I did, which was to prepare for a left turn, abort it, and merge again with traffic. When the The officer/prosecutor alleges that I used the middle lane to overtake another vehicle, I will point out that this too is allowed under the subsection.

Is this citation of S154(1)(b) a "fatal flaw"? The description on the ticket only says that I used the centre lane improperly, not what exactly he said I did. It's very ambiguous.

Advice from those experienced would be greatly appreciated! I very much want to do this myself for my own experience, and only plan on speaking to the prosecutor before the trial to try to reduce the ticket to o points. If they offer any less than that, I will go to trial.


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