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failing to use lower beams

Posted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:32 pm
by johnash23
My buddy was driving on a local ontario road. In the York Region municipality. He passed a speed trap and flashed his high beams to an oncoming vehicle. Turns out the oncoming vehicle was an unmarked police car.

The officer charged him with failure to use lower beam. HTA 168 sec (a). Now the time he was given this ticket was the in the afternoon.

Now section 62 below indicates that lamps are only required one half hour before sunset to one half hour after sun rise. Based on the disclosure we received it was bright day light and no visibility issues. You could barely see him flash the lights as well. Can he still be charged for this offence???

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).

Re: failing to use lower beams

Posted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:01 pm
by daggx
The first line of section 168 tends to suggest that it only applies when head lights are required. Since head lights were not required at the time the time of the incident I think your friend can reasonably argue that he is not guilty of the offence.

168 When on a highway at any time when lighted lamps are required to be displayed on vehicles, the driver of a motor vehicle equipped with multiple beam headlamps shall use the lower or passing beam when,
(a) approaching an oncoming vehicle within 150 metres; or
(b) following another vehicle within 60 metres, except when in the act of overtaking and passing. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 168.

Re: failing to use lower beams

Posted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 2:35 am
by argyll
I've seen that charge laid before without much success.

Re: failing to use lower beams

Posted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 1:56 pm
by Zatota
I can't see this charge ever succeeding, especially when disclosure shows it was a bright day with good visibility.

Re: failing to use lower beams

Posted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 2:13 pm
by bend
This was a popular discussion 10 or so years ago when a gentleman from the TV series Motoring was issued a ticket for this same scenario. The story was featured in practically every newspaper.

The short answer is there is no specific law in the HTA that would prohibit you from warning other drivers from something like a speed trap.

The long answer is... can you take a section of the HTA and bend it just enough to fit?

The section your friend was charged with refers to drivers who use their high beams at night, usually in the boonies where street lighting isn't available. It's to keep incoming vehicles from blinding you or people from behind filling your interior and mirrors with blaring lights. The intent is to have drivers switch over their lights temporary while others are around.

Another popular charge is "Alternative beams" 169(2), which is to keep people from using emergency lights on their vehicles.

Your friend should probably file for a court date. I don't think this charge is going to go very far...