Challenging Legal Basis of Red Light Cameras

Kawika
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Challenging Legal Basis of Red Light Cameras

by: Kawika on
Sat Mar 07, 2015 11:06 pm

I received a Notice of Offence for Disobeying a Red Light (Camera), under Section 144.18.1 of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act. The set fine, fees included, is $325. I do not drive and was certainly not the driver of the car in question, but I do own a car, which is registered in my name. Apparently, my wife was driving. In any case, I have chosen to meet with the prosecutor, and have an appointment on March 27, 2015 in Kitchener.
I can afford the fine, although I feel it is unfairly high. What disturbs me is that this has clearly become a revenue source for the province and other levels of government. The problem with this is these are the same institutions that set traffic safety standards, such as the duration of amber light signals. I wonder if there has been, or will be an attempt to modify these durations (shortening them) to bring in more revenue, although this would be at odds with making roads safer. This creates perverse incentives, if you see what I mean, and is likely part of the reason these have been banned in many U.S. jurisdictions. What I am wondering is if there has been any challenge to the legality of these cameras and the laws that support them. I would be inclined to fight this thing as far as I can. I don't care about the fine. I just would like to see these things gone, as they are doing nothing to make roads safer, and some research is showing the opposite (an increase in overall collisions, as well as those resulting in injury).


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by: bend on
Sun Mar 08, 2015 3:23 am

You're talking about 2 completely different things here.

Whether or not red light cameras make the world a safer place or is just a revenue source is irrelevant at your trial. It's an absolute liability offense. Either it's your vehicle that went through a red or it didn't. That's all. If you meet with a prosecutor and go into these ramblings, they are going to get you a trial date and usher in the next person. They don't care. They see hundreds of people a week. They hear it all. If you act normal, they'll just cut your fine in half for showing up. You'll pay the $100 and some odd dollars and never worry about this ticket ever again because it's a glorified parking ticket. If not, oh well see you at your trial.

There's no need to summon anyone at your trial. No officers, nothing. All they need is a set of pictures and a piece of paper showing you own the plates. They are going to ask if it's your car and you're going to say "I do not drive and was certainly not the driver of the car in question, but I do own a car" and they are going to pull out the info showing you as the owner. Whether you were driving or not is irrelevant unless you happened to call the police and let them know your car and/or plates were stolen. They don't have to prove you were driving. You are responsible as the owner. It's either your vehicle or it isn't. At that point you're going to be found guilty and you are going to find out you wasted several days for absolutely nothing.

Your trial and pursuit to change laws based on safety statistics and "well they've been banned in certain US states for reasons I'll choose to speculate" have no bearing on each other. You might as well go into Tim Horton's and ask for a haircut because that's how you're going to be treated at your trial.

If you want to raise a discussion about red light cameras and whether or not the province should get rid of them, more power to you. If you're looking to fight a red light camera ticket, you're going down the wrong path.


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by: Radar Identified on
Mon Mar 09, 2015 12:18 pm

Agreed. Unless you can find a way to prove the camera was likely malfunctioning (good luck with that), the best thing to do for red light camera tickets is simply to get a reduced fine. Your insurance is not affected, your driver record is not affected, you just pay some $$$. That's it.

There are some statistics that show an increase in collisions at intersections with red light cameras, but others that show a decrease. In any case, as bend says, it has no bearing on your case. That's a discussion you need to have with your MPP, if he/she will listen. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't, but most of the time they just send you a form response parroting some official policy line.
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by: bobajob on
Wed Mar 11, 2015 10:01 am

the only tickets I agree with 100% is RED LIGHT ones.

**UNLESS** it was faulty, IF YOU went through a red light camera you deserve everything you get, a car could have been coming the other way
sorry, IMHO the fine is fair enough and IMO shouldn't be able to be reduced.

There are VERY few instances that you can go through a red light with a reason, say, to let an emergency vehicle through, if directed by a PC.
But then (as we have done in the UK) you should have enough room around you to ebavle a emerg. servc. vehicle through.

If that where the case the photo would show a PC or emerg.veh. in the picture and that's a reasonable defense.

But if you jumped a red light for no reason, perhaps concentrating on the road, might help, and be glad you didnt kill anyone

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by: ynotp on
Wed Mar 11, 2015 10:34 am

Does anyone know if there is a hassle-free mechanism to withdraw the charge if the vehicle was part of a funeral procession? I was told by a family friend who was part of one that he and 8 other people that he knows of got RLC tickets.


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by: Radar Identified on
Wed Mar 11, 2015 11:45 am

ynotp wrote:Does anyone know if there is a hassle-free mechanism to withdraw the charge if the vehicle was part of a funeral procession?
I'm assuming the procession was being escorted by the cops? If so, the police should be able to issue a letter saying the vehicles were under escort and the police were directing them through the red light. Otherwise, the escort is entirely pointless. This has happened before; the cops confirmed "yes, they were under escort" in a fairly short letter and the Prosecutor withdrew the charges.

As for hassle-free... not that I'm aware of. Unfortunately it involves the regular mechanism of fighting the tickets.
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by: Stanton on
Wed Mar 11, 2015 12:31 pm

Legally, the officer should be present in the intersection directing traffic. And if that’s the case, they should be visible in the photo and no charge laid. The problem seems to mainly arise on unescorted processions, where courteous motorists simply wait and let people through. I’m not sure how much luck you’d have getting the charge withdrawn in that case. Technically, you’ve still committed an absolute liability offence. I would hope the Courts/Crown exercise some discretion, but it’s still a liability and illegal so you may not have much luck.


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by: Radar Identified on
Wed Mar 11, 2015 4:20 pm

Yes, if there was no police escort... then there was no legal basis for anyone to enter against the red. The HTA doesn't provide an exception for funeral processions without a police escort. At that point you're looking at a sympathy plea...
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by: ynotp on
Wed Mar 11, 2015 6:00 pm

Even without an escort, I don't think there's an officer who would be caught dead (pardon the pun) pulling over cars in a funeral procession who are safely going through red lights.
It is an absolute shame that well meaning mourners escorting their loved ones to their internment couldn't simply hand the ticket to a funeral home so it can be cancelled on their behalf.


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by: Radar Identified on
Wed Mar 11, 2015 7:27 pm

ynotp wrote:Even without an escort, I don't think there's an officer who would be caught dead (pardon the pun) pulling over cars in a funeral procession who are safely going through red lights. It is an absolute shame that well meaning mourners escorting their loved ones to their internment couldn't simply hand the ticket to a funeral home so it can be cancelled on their behalf.
You'd be surprised, unfortunately. While most officers would exercise discretion, there are some that do not.

Anyway, most people have enough civility to give way to a funeral procession. While I also would hope that the Prosecutor would, upon talking to the people involved, realize the situation and withdraw the charge, I don't know. As I said, you're looking for sympathy here. If this was an unescorted procession, my advice would be to get a letter from the funeral home. That's probably your best bet. Some Prosecutors will simply drop the charge because it is "not in the public interest."
* The above is NOT legal advice. By acting on anything I have said, you assume responsibility for any outcome and consequences. *
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