TICKETED FOR FOLLOWING TOO CLOSE BY AIRCRAFT

anjs1224
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TICKETED FOR FOLLOWING TOO CLOSE BY AIRCRAFT

Unread post by anjs1224 »

I was ticketed for following to close by aircraft and pulled over by a cruiser. So here goes the story, travelling on the #138hwy which is a one lane hwy going south and another lane going north(posted speed of 80 km). I was tavelling north, when I came upon 3 other vehicles following each other. So I would be the fourth vehicle, I then proceeded to pass the vehicles (I had the dotted line and no other on coming vehicles) as I was passing the third vehicle the second vehicle pulled out and cut me off.(my wife even made a comment "that vehicle just cut you off") We both passed the first vehicle and pulled back in to our proper lane. I then noticed (even made a comment "look there's another police cruiser") coming down the side road on the right side. Next thing I know I see his light turn on and pull over to the shoulder to let him pass and it's me he's pulling over!. His comments were " you were observed by the patrolling aircraft that you were following to close" I responded right away with "did the aircraft also see the vehicle cut me off" his response "that is not my call, you will have to discuss that with aircraft"
I received a ticket and was told it is also 4 demerit points. This whole incident from arriving behind the other vehicles to being pulled over was no more than 3- 5 minutes because I remember exactly where I came upon the other vehicles and passed them till I got pulled over. My qestions are is there a video or photo of the incident or just the pilots opinion because there was also another vehicle pulled over ahead of me and two others behind me were being pulled over while I was on the side of the road. I have never received a ticket for anything before, in the vehicle was my wife and three young children, (even if I was alone I don't drive careless) I also believe that there was sufficient space between me and the other vehicle (at least 1 - 2 car lenghts). The officer never said anything about speed being an issue.(I was not speeding) Do I have a chance in challenging this ticket??
Last edited by anjs1224 on Mon Jan 25, 2010 2:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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hwybear
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Re: TICKETED FOR FOLLOWING TOO CLOSE BY AIRCRAFT

Unread post by hwybear »

anjs1224 wrote: My qestions are is there a video or photo of the incident
No
or just the pilots opinion
no
I also believe that there was sufficient space between me and the other vehicle (at least 1 - 2 car lenghts)
vehicles = 4-5m long x 2= 8-10m, 80km/hr = 22m/sec = less than 1 second behind

33m (at 80km/hr = 22m/sec) is how far a vehicle travels before someone reacts to a danger in front
40m (at 100km/hr = 28m/sec) is how far a vehicle travels before someone reacts to a danger in front
Hence why there typically is the 2-3 second following distance we always here about.
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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Unread post by Radar Identified »

The pilot is not doing the observation. Odot has a spotter in the back of the plane who is watching the traffic and radios to people on the ground. You'd need to get the notes of the officer who was in the plane to see if he saw the vehicle cut you off... as the officer who stopped you indicated.

Speeding charges laid by the OPP aircraft are very difficult to beat. I'm only aware of 3 province-wide since they began the program a couple of years ago. As for following too closely, I'm not sure.
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Unread post by Keroba »

One would think it would be easier to beat. The officer in the plane has to be at the trial to give evidence. The officer on the ground cannot say “I observed you following too close” because he in fact didn’t observe that. He can’t say “the aircraft told me that they observed you following too close” at trial, because that’s hearsay evidence (you would object if they tried to say this). The other officer is also needed b/c it is they who first formulated the opinion that an offence had occurred.

When both officers are at the trial, you ask for all witnesses to be excluded from the courtroom. Then the one officer can’t tailor their upcoming testimony based on the testimony of the other. This is all to your advantage.

As with any FTC, they have to lead objective evidence (i.e. stopping-time charts by speed) or else they’ve failed in proving all the essential elements of a FTC case (see R. v. Borg 2005, as cited in R. v. Haddad 2009, on www.canlii.org).


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Unread post by hwybear »

Keroba wrote:One would think it would be easier to beat. The officer in the plane has to be at the trial to give evidence. The officer on the ground cannot say “I observed you following too close” because he in fact didn’t observe that. He can’t say “the aircraft told me that they observed you following too close” at trial, because that’s hearsay evidence (you would object if they tried to say this). The other officer is also needed b/c it is they who first formulated the opinion that an offence had occurred.

When both officers are at the trial, you ask for all witnesses to be excluded from the courtroom. Then the one officer can’t tailor their upcoming testimony based on the testimony of the other. This is all to your advantage..
It is all common/routine procedure for trials. We leave the 2nd officer in the hallway.

YES, the officer on the ground could say he observed the vehicle following too close - the vehicle could still be following too close when the ground unit spotted the vehicle
YES - the officer on the ground does say the "air unit told him the vehicle was following too close"

Follow too close from the air is a lot easier to see and easier to gather evidence.
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Unread post by Keroba »

hwybear wrote:It is all common/routine procedure for trials. We leave the 2nd officer in the hallway.

YES, the officer on the ground could say he observed the vehicle following too close - the vehicle could still be following too close when the ground unit spotted the vehicle
YES - the officer on the ground does say the "air unit told him the vehicle was following too close"

Follow too close from the air is a lot easier to see and easier to gather evidence.
http://www.thelaw.com/forums/showthread.php?p=9069

Easier to see and easier to gather evidence? See, I think most reasonable people would believe that it would be harder to gauge the distance between two moving vehicles at a height of at least 1000 ft, while the aircraft is humming along at 150+ kph. I’m sure any paralegal worth their salt could poke a multitude of holes in any such testimony from an officer.

If the officer on the ground was told about car X, and then that officer was able to catch up to the car, and then observe and form an opinion ON HIS OWN, then he/she wouldn’t need to refer to the officer in the aircraft at all on the ticket. But fact is he/she did refer to the aircraft.

Unless the aircraft observer was also timing the two cars through the hash markings, they would have absolutely no idea about the speed of the vehicles, which while Follow Too Close doesn’t require the accuracy of radar for speed readings, it does require objective evidence combined with the relevant factors at play that day (the general speed of the vehicles, the conditions of the road and weather, and the amount of traffic on the road at the time).

I would ALWAYS contest such a ticket.


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Unread post by hwybear »

USA stuff = N/A, completely different court system, laws, procedures etc.
Keroba wrote: it does require objective evidence combined with the relevant factors at play that day (the general speed of the vehicles, the conditions of the road and weather, and the amount of traffic on the road at the time)..
You can get the general speed of vehicles, road conditions, weather, and traffic all from the air...plus a very accurate following distance.
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Unread post by Keroba »

hwybear wrote:USA stuff = N/A, completely different court system, laws, procedures etc.
Completely different?! You are aware that our courts, including our Supreme Court, will often look to judgements from American courts in guiding them in areas where Canadian common law is murky? R. v. Askov is a prime example. That was and remains a most crucial judgement in Canadian jurisprudence. The tests first laid down in Askov and clarified in R. v. Morin were taken from the Barker v. Wingo ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court, 407 U.S. 514 (1972).

Both systems developed out of the old English common law system, so such things as being able to question (cross-examine) your accuser, and seeing the notes of both officers (knowing the charge against you, as laid out by your accusers), are such long-held legal concepts that they are fully present in both systems.
hwybear wrote:You can get the general speed of vehicles, road conditions, weather, and traffic all from the air...plus a very accurate following distance.
Care to elaborate on how the police do this, and how they would attest to this in court? The speed and distances would be the hardest measurements to gauge accurately, and would be wide open to being shot down by any well-versed paralegal.

(let me note here I am not a paralegal, but even so I think it wouldn’t be too hard to raise a helluva lot of reasonable doubt surrounding such evidence, and that’s knowing full well all the advantages of prima facie evidence and assumptions of regularity that officers’ testimony is given in our regulatory offences courts)

http://www.gtamotorcycle.com/vbforum/sh ... hp?t=56237

An Ontario thread, some posts saying the same thing as the WA one ...


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Unread post by Radar Identified »

Keroba wrote:Easier to see and easier to gather evidence? See, I think most reasonable people would believe that it would be harder to gauge the distance between two moving vehicles at a height of at least 1000 ft, while the aircraft is humming along at 150+ kph. I’m sure any paralegal worth their salt could poke a multitude of holes in any such testimony from an officer.
It's not as hard as you'd think. If you've got a bird's eye view, you've got an unobstructed sightline as opposed to being blocked by vehicles/buildings/vegetation, being at an odd angle, etc., while on the ground. 1000' is less than a quarter of a mile. That's pretty close. Even at well over 3000' above ground, you can tell if someone is tailgating or not. Besides, to my knowledge, they time the distances between the vehicles, and then the vehicles between the hash marks, so they have both speed and "follow time" between vehicles, then can determine following distance.

Side note: Odot can fly the plane as low as 500' off the ground (technically, distance from any person, vehicle, vessel or structure) as long as it's not over a built-up area... and most of their aircraft patrols are not over built-up areas.
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Unread post by hwybear »

copied over from duplicate thread that is locked...
anjs1224 wrote:This is to let anyone know that if you are tickted for following too close by aircraft fight the charge. For my case, speed was never an issue only the observation from the aircraft to the ground unit to stop me for FTC. If you look at the last post from me anjs1224, you can read my story to see what happened. But story gets even better. When I received my court date letter I immediatly ask for disclosure. 2 weeks before my court date no disclosure yet, so I contact the court office where I dropped off the discloure. The response I got from them was "well we gave it to officer for his stuff, call us back in a week." So a week goes by and I call again, Spoke to a different person who passed me on to another person that was not very nice and her response was "you'll get it whenever". Ok, I go to court last week to fight my charge and and I see the court officer to try and speak to the prosecutor to explain that I have yet to receive disclosure and I had asked 3 times for it. His response was "you'll probably get it today". So I wait for all the court proceedings to get going and then they start to read off the names for today's cases. When they got to my name I got up went to the front and told the JP that I would like to speak to the prosecutor at recess. She in turn had the court clerk read out my name and charge ,I plead not quilty, turned around to go back to my seat but as I was doing the prosecutor stood up and said "due to lack of evidence charge is withdrawn" So what happened did the court officer speak to the prosecutor at some point about my case to get it over with or did the officers (ground unit and aircraft observer) not show up??????.
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Unread post by hwybear »

Court Officer realized you did not receive disclosure in a timely fashion, therefore told the Crown and Crown just had the charge withdrawn to save another court date and arguement of delay, only to have a JP quash the offence. Saved court time and yours!
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Unread post by Keroba »

Radar Identified wrote:It's not as hard as you'd think. If you've got a bird's eye view, you've got an unobstructed sightline as opposed to being blocked by vehicles/buildings/vegetation, being at an odd angle, etc., while on the ground. 1000' is less than a quarter of a mile. That's pretty close. Even at well over 3000' above ground, you can tell if someone is tailgating or not. Besides, to my knowledge, they time the distances between the vehicles, and then the vehicles between the hash marks, so they have both speed and "follow time" between vehicles, then can determine following distance.

Side note: Odot can fly the plane as low as 500' off the ground (technically, distance from any person, vehicle, vessel or structure) as long as it's not over a built-up area... and most of their aircraft patrols are not over built-up areas.
Agreed there are no obstructions, but you could be at an odd angle, and one that is not constant as you're observing, seeing as the plane will be flying faster than traffic. It's a hard thing to test, although travelling some back roads the other day, as I approached an intersection I spotted two cars travelling perpendicular to me, about 400m away, and they were fairly close together, travelling at a good clip (say 90 kph). It was quite hard to determine how many car lengths were between them, b/c you have to shift your eyes ever so slightly back and forth between each car, and to “snapshot” in your mind what the gap was. Your eyes and mind can easily play tricks on you … your first impression might be that there were only two car lengths between them, when it’s more like three or more.

It’s like looking at a basketball net rim … you would say there is no way that you could fit two basketballs through the hoop at the same time, that it wouldn’t even be close. You actually can’t (despite what my high school basketball coach told me), but it’s only less than an inch off from being able to (diameter of the hoop is 18 inches, diameter of a men’s size 7 ball is 9.39 inches; a size 5 ball would fit through no problem).
hwybear wrote:Court Officer realized you did not receive disclosure in a timely fashion, therefore told the Crown and Crown just had the charge withdrawn to save another court date and arguement of delay, only to have a JP quash the offence. Saved court time and yours!
Question remains whether it was b/c of the type of case (aircraft assisted) that the disclosure was not able to be provided, or not in a timely manner at any rate. I would always fight such a charge, and make the prosecutor produce disclosure. If they’ve covered all the bases, good for them, that’s what they need to do, and you can then take a plea-bargain on your trial date.

There’s many reasons why they might have withdrawn the charges. If either of the officers didn’t show, then the JP likely wouldn’t have adjourned the case even if requested (just like the OP, an officer would need a good reason for missing a scheduled court date), owing to s. 49(3) of the POA.

The missing disclosure would’ve necessitated an adjournment if it got to the arraignment stage.

But the s. 11(b) considerations might have played a part (they always should). I had one ticket where an initial trial date was postponed to a later date - I’ll assume b/c of vacation schedules - where the postponed date was clearly and obviously past any s. 11(b) threshold (in that case, I filed a s. 11(b) challenge, and the JP just glanced at the first page of it, saw the timelines, and said “over 12 months, charge is stayed”). Would’ve been better for all involved if it was withdrawn at the time of the first request to postpone, but some prosecutors can be stubborn. I remember seeing that the City of Toronto has a whackload of parking tickets waiting to go to trial, some waiting over two years, and a prosecutor was quoted as saying that they could still move forward on them!!! Yeah, right! Either they’re hoping that people don’t know their rights, or they’re delusional. I would expect any court to throw out any parking ticket proceedings that had gone on that long even in the absence of a formal s. 11(b) application.


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Unread post by Radar Identified »

Keroba wrote:Agreed there are no obstructions, but you could be at an odd angle, and one that is not constant as you're observing, seeing as the plane will be flying faster than traffic. It's a hard thing to test, although travelling some back roads the other day, as I approached an intersection I spotted two cars travelling perpendicular to me, about 400m away, and they were fairly close together, travelling at a good clip (say 90 kph).
Still don't agree. To my understanding, they're flying fairly close to the highway, so the angle problem is eliminated. They're not 20 miles away. If they were, then I'd agree with the angle problem. They basically fly along the road and look for people who are following too close, or someone who's ripping by other cars. If they see someone that's doing something at a fair distance, they'll fly towards it and see if they can confirm it. The officer has to provide some substantive evidence that the vehicle was too close, and that is done by timing the following distance and speed (hash marks on the ground), and comparing that to a following/stop chart. They're more or less right over the marks when they stop/start the stopwatch.

When you're at 1000' to 2000' above ground, the issue of being faster than the traffic on the highway is eliminated, because you've got a much larger view than if you were on the ground. Your angle of view changes at a much slower rate when you're further away. There isn't much parallax, either. They can also circle around the vehicle, all turns toward the vehicle so it stays in sight. The C-206 is a high-wing aircraft so when they turn, the observer can maintain sight of the vehicle.

By the way, I'm an airline pilot, but when I first started flying commercially I was a flight instructor and I also did traffic watch. I have over 2000 hours in airplanes similar to the OPP's plane. Things like people hogging the passing lane, tailgating, and driving way too fast or way too slow stick out like a sore thumb. It's actually very easy to see that stuff. You get used to judging distances and angles. It's a completely different perspective than being a in a car.

The basketball analogy is actually a good one. I'd be willing to bet that if you got up on a ladder and looked straight down at the basketball net, you'd probably be able to see that you could almost fit two basketballs in it. That's the same sort of perspective you get with an airplane - the overhead view.
Keroba wrote:I remember seeing that the City of Toronto has a whackload of parking tickets waiting to go to trial, some waiting over two years, and a prosecutor was quoted as saying that they could still move forward on them!!! Yeah, right!
I'm willing to wager that the Prosecutor is gambling that the people who have been waiting over 2 years don't know about their rights.... either that or it's another one of the bluffing games they're trying to play.
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