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Last updated: October 24, 2003.
A: No. The officer is not required to let you see the radar reading. Especially if you are pulled over along a busy street, the officer doesn't want to bear the liability of you being hit by traffic during the walk to the patrol car. Moreover, a radar reading can easily be tampered with. The officer could have shown you a radar reading, but it would not be very useful as nobody could be sure that was your car. For what it's worth, it is not even a good idea to ask to see the radar reading. If you asked and were shown the reading, the officer could write in his notes that you saw the radar reading and "agreed" with the charge.
Q: I passed a patrol car at an illegal speed, but it didn't pull me over. Would the officer write down my license plate number and mail me a ticket later?
A: Usually no. Probably the patrol car wasn't on a speed trap duty or was on another call to not worry about you. If you weren't pulled over at the scene, they usually won't bother mailing people tickets. Unless the patrol car you passed happened to be a photo radar installation (photo radar is gone for good in Ontario), you don't need to worry about it.
Q: The officer was rude and his attitude was arrogant. What can I do? Will the judge find me not guilty?
A: If you were driving like a maniac, or you never watch your rearview mirror so the officer had to follow you for several km's before he could pull you over, obviously the officer would be fuming. But that's not important in the case, nor will the judge consider these facts in ruling the case, even if they were true and you really didn't deserve such treatment. You can lodge a complaint to his police department, but it usually has little effect, and it is unwise to do so before your trial.
Q: The officer reduced the speed cited on my ticket, and threatens if I fight it, he would increase it back up in court. Should I still opt for a trial?
A: You should still plead not guilty. Everything could be just a bluff, you will never know. Perhaps the officer really didn't get you at the higher speed. He could just be making that speed up and pretended to do you a favour by lowering it, to give you more incentive to pay it quickly. Or the higher speed is legitimate. But why does he do that if he could write you up at the higher speed in the first place? Well, perhaps he hates going to court, in which case you may find a pleasant surprise when you are finally at trial. Can he really put the speed back up if you encounter him at trial? You should know when you request disclosure. If he has that written down, perhaps he might. But then if he really does try to increase it back up, his position is actually weakened. You had to be going at either speed, not both. When he brings up another speed in his testimony, he has put reasonable doubt in his own case. If he claims the lower speed was not true after all, you can then suggest he is obstructing justice by misleading you into preparing a defence. The ticket, the official charging document, is what you were relying on to prepare a defence, and the lower speed is the only speed you know. At the very least, if the judge agrees to everything the officer says, request an adjournment because now the charge has changed. But the judge likely won't allow the officer to do that in the first place.
Q: I might have admitted my speed (illegal) to the officer, will he use it against me in court?
A: The first thing you want to do is to obtain disclosure, if you haven't already done it. Officers write so many tickets in a month, so the only things he will remember about your conversation are the things he has written down in his notes. If he didn't write them down, then chances are he won't mention them during the trial. The only way to find out (in advance of course) if he will use your statements against you is through obtaining disclosure. See the Disclosure and Discovery section.
Q: The officer was operating his radar on a private property. Is this considered trespassing and will the tickets he wrote stand?
A: There are two different views to this situation. In general, officers are exempt from certain laws in the legal performance of his duties. For example, if he is chasing a criminal, he is allowed to drive faster than the speed limits and run red lights. On the other hand, when he setup the radar site on this private property, no actual comission of crime was in progress. In other words, he was just there fishing for suspects. The property owner's consent (or lack thereof) will be vital to this case. If the officer asked the owner and was allowed to setup the radar there, the radar site is considered legal. Otherwise, I would tend to believe that is trespassing. Contact the property owner and find out if the officer had obtained permission.
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A: It depends on what information is incorrect. If your name is spelled wrong, it is NOT a fatal error. It usually comes down to the question of "This is not me" or "This is me but my name is Steven not Stephen". As long as you are standing in front of the court, and the officer can identify you, then you are the right person. There are many things on the ticket that have no bearing on the validity of the ticket, such as your address, license, vehicle model etc. A difference in opinion about the colour of your car is definitely not a fatal error (e.g. whether it is cactus green or tropical green). Also, the law only requires that the offence occured "on or about" the time and date stated on the ticket. The only things vital on the ticket are the charge and the PRESENCE of your name. If the officer puts down a charge such as "speeding 40km/h in a 63km/h zone" or forgets to put down the defendant's name then it is a fatal error. Also, the court retains the power to amend an offence notice if something minor is not right. However, you can use the mistake to your advantage, by getting the officer to commit himself on the wrong bits, and then nailing him later. For example, if the officer identified that you were driving a red Honda, but in fact you were in a blue Toyota, you don't raise this until after the officer has testified. If you raise this fact before he testifies, the court will amend the ticket and the officer will change his testimony accordingly. In short, don't say the ticket has some mistakes until the officer has committed himself. This way reasonable doubt about the integrity of the ticket will likely be raised.
Q: The cop apparently misidentified the model year of my car! I have a 1999 model, and the cop wrote down 2001! Will the ticket be dismissed?
A: The "year" field on the ticket is the expiry date of your license plate sticker, not the model year of your automobile. The officers make no attempt to identify the model year of a motor vehicle, and they can't be expected to know the differences between different model years in every make and model.
Q: My ticket doesn't have a prescribed fine. I don't know how much to pay, and what do I do with it?
A: This ticket could be an offence summons, issued under Part I or III of the Provincial Offences Act. This kind of ticket is for the more serious offences, such as hit-and-run or driving while suspended. It usually requires you to go to court, without the option of payment out of court. It is advisable to hire a lawyer if you receive an offence summons. Jail term can be included if you are convicted under Part III of the P.O.A.
Q: Can I mess up my signature deliberately so later I could claim that I didn't sign the ticket personally?
A: No. Anything you write on the signature line will be assumed to be your signature. Your signature has no bearing on the validity of the ticket. As long as the officer has requested you to sign the ticket, even if you refuse to sign it, the ticket is considered to have been served upon you. In the newer version of the ticket, there is not even a space for you to sign the ticket. As long as the officer has given the ticket to you, it is considered to have been served.
Q: What happens if I ignore the ticket?
A: One of two things can happen. If the ticket contains an obvious fatal error (see above), it will be quashed as if nothing was issued. If the ticket was found to be regular on its face, then you are deemed to not wish to dispute the charge and a conviction will be entered in your absence. As you may have already wondered, this is a clear violation to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, due to the tremendous costs involved (read: loss of revenue), the province simply can't assume everybody innocent for every ticket ignored and assign them court dates. Last time I checked, Canadians are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Ontario is doing this illegal extortion and is counting on your ignorance to facilitate the cash flow. I will be happy to hear from anyone who is willing to put on a legal fight to shoot down this illegal practice. Imagine how many tickets and convictions have to be thrown out and overturned if we win.
Q: Can I take traffic school instead of pleading not guilty, going to a trial and risk losing it?
A: It depends. It is more a question of whether the jurisdiction you are in allows you such an option. It is a viable option, especially if your fine and conviction are waived in exchange for a small amount of "school tuition fees" and a day of listening to lecture and watching horrifying videos of car wrecks. You should note that there may be some restrictions, such as the number of times you can take traffic school in a certain time period, or you may not be entitled this option if you are charged with a certain speed over the limit etc. It doesn't hurt to ask the officer on the spot to see if you are eligible for traffic school. In Ontario, the Niagara region offers traffic school as an alternative, and has proven to be a popular option for motorists. However, the province is considering banning this practice since it's losing its share of revenue (for the details please read a news story in the Ottawa Sun on October 1, 1998). See? The province doesn't care if you are a bad driver, nor does it have any intention of improving them. It only wants money from you. Talk about a seriously corrupted speeding ticket system. It has totally gone out of control.
Q: Does Ontario have reciprocal agreement with other provinces and the U.S. i.e. if I am an Ontario resident but received a speeding ticket in another province/the U.S., will the ticket be reported back to Ontario?
A: All provinces in Canada have reciprocal agreement with Ontario. The following states in the U.S. also have reciprocal agreement with Ontario: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, District of Columbia (41 states).
Q: I have received a speeding ticket in X state/province, and I live in Y state/province. Will the ticket/points get transferred?
A: I can't possibly know all the laws from 50 states and 10 provinces in North America, so the best place to find out is to go to your local library, and look up the laws about this topic. The most likely one is called "Motor Vehicle Code" or something similar. Find the section which talks about reciprocal agreements with other states/provinces. Even if you got a ticket from a state where no reciprocal agreement exists between your home state, you should not just ignore the ticket unless you never plan to visit that state in the future. An ignored moving violation can generate a bench warrant for your arrest. If you are pulled over for any reason in that state later, you could spend some time in handcuffs and in behind bars at the worst possible time (say when you are on vacation). Next time you go there, let a friend drive or just take a plane.
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A: You are required to pay the fine within 15 days of the conviction unless otherwise instructed by the court. A payment of fine in default will result in suspension of your license. Also, a collecting agent will go after you, and the court can order seizure of your properties, control of your wages and withdrawals from your bank account etc until the fine is paid in full. In an unlikely event, jail will be the last resort. In some states of the U.S., a bench warrant will be issued for your arrest. A bench warrant means that they won't be actively looking for you, but if you are pulled over for any reason, you will be arrested.
Q: I have been convicted and I can't possibly afford the fine. What can I do?
A: You can ask the court for an extension to pay the fine. Fill out a prescribed form at the court office and be prepared to explain your situation to a justice of the peace. An extension will usually be granted. Sometimes, you can pay the fine in monthly instalments. Just ask.
Q: I heard from my friends that if I overpay the fine by a small amount, the province will refund the difference to me and if I don't cash their cheque, the points will never go on my license since the financial transaction is not completed. Is this story true?
A: This is urban legend. Don't try it, because it won't work. Most likely what will happen is, the province will send back your cheque, telling you to send in the correct amount within 5 or 10 days. But of course by the time you receive the notice, there may be only 48 hours left before your fine goes into default. The Ministry of Transportation applies the points upon your conviction, regardless of payment (or non-payment) of fines. A different government entity receives the fine, whether it is the Minister of Finance, or the county or township where the offence occurs. But now when your fine goes into default, the MTO will surely be quick to know about this and proceed to suspend your license. Then of course there will be a whole slew of more "administrative surcharges" tagged onto the overdue fine, plus you may have to pay a fee to reinstate your license. It is going to be a mess. So, don't try it.
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A: This is to require the prosecution to disclose all information and evidence that it will be relying on during the trial. This might include the officer's notes, statements of witness(es), as well as any statements you made to the police during the citation. If you don't ask for a complete disclosure, there will be a lot of surprises for you at the trial. Of course, request of disclosure is the sole right of the defendant. The prosecution cannot request disclosure from defendants on what defence they are going to use.
Q: I have sent my request to the prosecutor's office to obtain a full disclosure, but I haven't yet received any replies. What can I do?
A: You can raise this at the time of the trial, and move for a dismissal due to lack of disclosure. If the prosecution give you the disclosure in court, at least ask the court for an adjournment because you need time to prepare for a full answer to the charge based on the information you just obtained. Remember if you asked for disclosure just one week before the trial, of course you are not going to get a response, since this has to be done much earlier.
Q: What if the disclosure is incomplete?
A: You can send a second request to get the missing information. After the second time you wait for the trial and move for a dismissal due to lack of complete disclosure.
Q: What is a public records request (discovery)?
A: Many items vital to your defence are not in the custody of the prosecutor, but rather in the possession of the police agency responsible for your pulling over. These items include the officer's training certificate, radar/laser calibration logs, operating procedures, owner's manuals etc. You need to contact the police agency in order to obtain these useful items. The Freedom of Information Act (Ontario) provides you with the privilege. Particularly read sections 10 and 11.
Q: What if the police agency doesn't respond to my discovery request?
A: The court is not obligated to dismiss your charge if the police fails to give you the information you need, since a discovery is separate from the trial. As of this stage I don't know what action you might want to take (sue the government, yeah!) if they try to frustrate you attempting to defend yourself. If you mention that in the trial, the judge may assist you, or may give you an adjournment. There are only three reasons your discovery request is not honoured: they don't keep such records, they are deliberately withholding the records, or the record is with someone else. It is easy if the reason is the last one. Just redirect your request to that agency. Otherwise, demand a written statement and/or explanation signed by an authority to certify the facts. It may be useful for your defence.
Q: What is the purpose of sending the requests by registered mail?
A: This way the prosecution cannot claim that they have never received your request. They must sign for it and you have the receipt from the post office to prove it should you need to.
Q: I asked for the radar manual through discovery, and it is not given to me. What can I do?
A: You can wait for the trial and ask the court to make an order that the manual be given to you, if it is deemed that you need one to prepare your case, otherwise you are out of luck. Most courts now don't allow radar manuals to be given out, for obvious reasons. The radar gun manufacturers know how much damage can be done should the manual falls into competent hands, so most radar manuals nowadays are written to be useless to the defendants. It has been decided in some court cases that the Crown is not obligated to provide you one, so don't insist and don't rely your case on it either. You can achieve the same results by asking the cop about the manual and his familiarity with it. (e.g. When was the last time you read the manual? Does it tell you how often you should test the radar unit? etc.)
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A: You can ask for an adjournment, or continuance, by writing to the court which you are scheduled to appear. It is advisable to do this as early as possible, perhaps no less than two weeks before the trial. It is also highly recommended to change your court date anyway because it might increase the chance that the police officer will not show up.
Q: I missed the court date. What will happen to me?
A: It usually means that you are guilty as charged, a conviction will be entered in your absence. You will be required to pay the set fine within 15 days of the conviction. If you have a strong reason, which is entirely through no fault of your own, you should immediately notify the court to overturn the conviction, with supporting documents, to schedule for another hearing. One valid excuse is serious illness of the defendant. Then, the supporting document would be a medical certificate signed by a doctor.
Q: I am sure I wasn't going that fast. Is it a valid defence?
A: No. Saying you were going faster than the speed limit, but only not as fast as the speed at which you were cited, will always result in the judge saying, "Guilty! Please pay on your way out. Next!". Saying you were going at the speed limit will then be the officer's words against yours. The judge will always choose to believe the officer's. What you should do is forget about telling people how innocent you are. Make the prosecution fail to prove you guilty, by means of attacking their credibility and evidence.
Q: Can I dispute the speeding charge by saying that my speedometer is inaccurate?
A: No. Not knowing what speed you were travelling at is not a valid defence to a speeding charge. The same applies to the defence of "I don't know the speed limit to this road". It is your responsibility to ensure that your car is properly maintained, and to pay attention to signs on the highway. Speeding is an absolute liability offence (this might not be true anymore due to the recent change to the POA, as courts can now send people to jail. Check with a lawyer for the details), which means there is no defence available to you, except the defence of "I didn't do it, prove it if you can". As long as the prosecution can prove that you did it, you are guilty. State of mind or acting due diligence is irrelevant in an absolute liability offence. For a careless driving charge, a strict liability offence, the due diligence defence is available to you. In the FYST article you may have read that there is a defence of necessity for a speeding charge, this is due to a recent change of POA which allows jail sentences, and the courts didn't want to send people to jail unnecessarily. You should note that the defence of necessity should only be used in extremely exceptional circumstances.
Q: What if the judge ask me "did you speed?"
A: It's your right described in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms section 11 clause (c) to not answer this or similar questions. You cannot be compelled to testify against yourself. As long as you choose not to testify, you cannot be asked any questions which require sworn answers. Therefore, even if you really did speed, you don't need to tell any lies. It is the prosecution's job to prove you guilty.
Q: Are photos usable in my defence?
A: Usually photos are usable in traffic courts. In order to bring in photos for evidence, you need to testify the make and model of the camera and lens used for taking the pictures. You should be aware that pictures which are taken very poorly won't help your defence. You should take the pictures from at least a few different angles and from a few different distances. The pictures should be clear enough to show what you are trying to establish in your line of defence. Also, take your pictures as soon as you can after the citation. You must not wait until there is only a few days left to your trial date.
Q: I know radar makes mistakes. Can I use it as a defence?
A: The short answer is yes. But there is a lot more to it than just saying to the judge "since radar makes mistakes therefore I am not guilty". You are not a radar expert approved by the court to say this. Even if the judge knows pretty well that radar does make mistakes, your opinion is of no value since you are not an expert in this field. You must get the real radar expert, the cop, to admit by himself that radar makes mistakes. This can only be achieved by carefully and intelligently planned cross-examination. Anything you can get from the police agency by a public records request will be useful to establish a baseline that the radar unit and its operator must meet.
Q: My trial is scheduled way beyond the offence date. What can I do?
A: Under Section 11(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, you are entitled to have a prompt trial after the alleged offence date. However, it doesn't specify a certain time limit because different crimes require different preparation effort on both parties. For traffic offences, a delay of about 8 months or more is considered unreasonable in Ontario. Some provinces say 1 year, but that's not important since if you can make your case convincing, a delay of 6 months can be argued. It should be noted that the delay has to be the fault of the province. If you have changed your court date multiple times, you have probably waived your right to be tried promptly. When it is determined that the delay is through no fault of your own, you can start filing a "Notice of Constitutional Question" form to the Crown, advising them that you wish to dispute the charge based on the Charter. It is advisable to file this form as soon as the situation arises, or at least 15 days prior to the trial. During the trial, make a motion to stay the charge(s) on the grounds that the defendant is prejudiced due to unreasonable delay on the part of the Crown. You should be prepared to have other defences available in case your motion is denied, or you can request an adjournment. Click here for an example of the form, and modify it according to your own case. This example also contains the situation where the delay is further caused by the Crown's failure to provide disclosure on time. Take that part out if it doesn't apply to your case. After you have completed the form, send it to the prosecutor's office responsible for handling your ticket, the court house (if it is different from the prosecutor's office), the Attorney General of Ontario and the Attorney General of Canada.
Q: What is a plea bargain? How do I request one?
A: In most courts, in order to save time and costs, the prosecution may offer a plea bargain prior to trial. Or you can initiate the plea bargaining process by asking the prosecutor. In a plea bargain, you and the prosecution negotiate a reduced charge. In exchange to your guilty plea to the lesser charge, both parties can avoid going through the long process of a trial and an unpredictable outcome. If you want to plea bargain with the prosecution, in jurisdictions with pre-trial hearings, this is the time to do it. If pre-trial hearings are not available, you may do it after the court opens for admission and before the judge enters the court room. Sometimes, if your case is near the bottom of the docket, you may be able to strike a last-minute deal during a recess. In this case, I believe the prosecution is actually more inclined to give you a good deal should the alotted court time runs out and they risk pushing your case further into the future and being thrown out due to unreasonable delay.
Q: I have been offered a plea bargain deal, should I accept it?
A: There is no definite answer. If you are pretty sure that you will win, of course, by all means ignore the deal. But for those who are inexperienced or merely trying their luck, just keep in mind that trials can be very unpredictable. And of course if points and/or insurance surcharges matter to you, seriously consider the deal and try to negotiate. For ordinary speeding tickets, the best deal is a no-point offence (e.g. 15km/h or less over). Some courts in the U.S. will allow plea bargain deals to be equipment violations or seatbelt infractions, but I don't think Ontario will accept these. It doesn't hurt to try though, after all they are more interested in money than anything else. Non-moving violations are the best deals period, since they carry no points and won't affect your insurance. If the Crown won't give you a non-moving, at least get a 15km/h over, this way only your insurance could be affected. If the original charge is of the more serious type, bargain one that is two brackets down. I have seen a clueless defendant accept a 29km/h over deal for an original 35km/h over charge. To me this is a ripoff because 29km/h over is still a 3-point offence and the modest reduction in fines couldn't even compensate the lost time spent in court (he sat there for two hours before striking a deal during the recess, when the prosecution felt that they couldn't finish all of their cases in time). The bottom line is, before you accept a deal, think about your desired outcome, evaluate your current points tally and insurance situation, and set a realistic goal. If your goal isn't met, also set a limit on what you are willing to accept. If all else fails, there is always the trial.
Q: I have seen books being advertised on the internet that claim their defence will successfully fight speeding tickets: no points, no fine, no record, no lawyer fees, and no insurance surcharges. They say their strategies are trial tested and court proven in all US states and provinces in Canada, and it even comes with a money-back guarantee. Is it worth getting those? Are they better than the free information given here?
A: Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Exaggerated guarantees like this alone is enough cause for suspicion. How could they guarantee a win without even knowing your particular case? It is unlikely, or even impossible, that a glaring loophole is left unexploited that could allow all speeding drivers to get off scot-free. I will freely admit the information given here is not perfect, and many who fought their tickets didn't get the results they wanted, but such is life. I do not recommend or advise against those material, as with anything you find on the internet (hell, including this page), READ AT YOUR OWN RISK, especially those that come with a price.
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A: Unfortunately, the ones that work are not legal, and the ones that don't work are. Passive radar jammers are legal, since they are not really trammitters. These devices probably won't work very well. Active radar jammers are transmitters and are prohibited by the FCC. These are devices that can jam the radar signals of traffic radars. Even so, modern radar units have the capabilities to detect the presence of jamming signals, therefore rendering the purpose of jamming pointless.
Q: Are laser jammers legal? Do they work?
A: Laser jammers are legal with regards to FCC regulations, since the FCC doesn't regulate that part of the spectrum. Laser is essentially light with special properties. If the FCC were to outlaw laser jammers they would have to outlaw headlights, turn signals and traffic lights etc. However "interfering police" is another perspective to look at all types of jammers. The effectiveness of laser jammers is a big question. Theoretically, if you carry a very powerful headlight on your car, it can serve as a laser jammer. But, taking the power requirement and the load it would put on your car's electrical system into consideration this is a very impractical solution. Furthermore, even if you can do it and avoided a speeding ticket, you will get a different ticket such as "failure to lower headlight beam" instead. To make a laser jammer work, you need to lower the power requirements and confine the light pattern into a tighter spot. But then, it won't work unless the light is pointed directly at the laser gun's photodiode. Which means you have to be actively looking for the laser speed trap and point the light there the instance you see it. Isn't it easier to just hit the brake pedal and slow down when you see a speed trap ahead?
Q: What is instant-on radar?
A: This is a feature designed to defeat radar detectors. Otherwise an instant-on radar works on the same principles as regular traffic radars. Instant-on radar has the capability to remain power on, but does not transmit any signal until the operator presses a button. Usually the police officer leaves the radar in standby mode, when a possible violator comes into range, he hits a button and nails the violator. Even if the violator's radar detector goes off now, it is too late.
Q: Has laser received judicial notice in Ontario?
A: As of the date this FAQ is updated, there is no clear word. However it appears that it is no longer necessary for the Crown to seek approval from the courts to use laser, as long as the laser guns are verified by radar at the end of every speedtrap shift. The OPP has been doing this and the laser evidence is being accepted as accurate. Their argument is, if both units register the same speed, then it is absurd to proclaim that they are both inaccurate. This strategy seems to work quite well for the province at the moment. But that shouldn't discourage you from fighting your ticket, as that test doesn't prove anything when laser is used in a real-world environment instead of in a controlled condition.
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A: First of all you should ask your friends, do they really think that speeding is in itself immoral? If they don't think speeding is immoral, there is no case. Obviously when they accuse you of dishonesty when you fight your ticket, they must think speeding is immoral. Now when this is established, you can ask them, "have you ever, knowingly or unknowingly, exceeded the speed limit on the highway? Have you reported this crime and submitted yourself to the police, even if you were not caught at the scene? Do you think you can weasel out of it because nobody knew? Being a righteous and honest person that you are, you should have reported all your speeding crimes and paid your fines right away? Or are you the same dishonest and weaseling individual that you accused me of?" This should get your friends thinking. Now is speeding really immoral? Not necessarily. In a lot of cases, it is just plain dangerous to stick to the speed limit religiously, when traffic flow is significantly faster. When you have a fixed speed limit which doesn't change according to any condition, speeding tickets should never be handed out. Speeding ticket themselves are immoral. Yes the speed limit is the law, but a wrong law which can be shown by its compliance (or lack thereof). It does not matter if you are actually guilty by the definition of the law. Speeding tickets are wrong and we should fight them. This situation is worsen by the fact that law enforcement officials use speeding tickets as a tool to generate revenue, and have a "safety" disguise. This speeding ticket business is seriously corrupt, and you should do something about it. Now that's dealing with the consequences like a real man.
Q: Speeding is dangerous. Why do you advocate speeding? Even a high school student can tell you if you hit something with a faster speed it's going to hurt more.
A: I don't advocate speeding. I encourage "driving at a speed according to the conditions". If that speed is above the speed limit, so be it. I prefer to be safe and illegal than be legal and dead, plain and simple. Yes I am an engineer and I know all the physics about kinetic energy and momentum and so on. I don't reject the fact that if you hit something going faster, it's more destructive. That is, IF you are going to hit something. Life is more than just physics. There is probability. If I increase my travel speed to match with traffic, instead of impeding traffic by sticking to the speed limit, I reduce the chance of being hit or hitting something, even though the faster speed seems to be more dangerous because physics tells us it is more destructive. Government propaganda usually ignores the probability part and only shows you the physics part, to justify their ridiculously low speed limits. For me, I try my best to minimize the probability of involving in a collision, rather than minimizing the speed at which I travel. If doing this means breaking the law and staying with the flow. Otherwise I'd be walking, or even staying home all my life. Breaking the laws of speed limit doesn't kill, breaking the laws of physics does.
Q: If a deer suddenly runs out to the road in front of you, don't you think you'd wish you were going slower?
A: Not necessary. It works both ways, if I had been going faster, I'd be well passed before the deer jumped out. This is not a question, it's merely a bait for a favourable answer. However the person who asked this question is seriously lacking in the knowledge of probability and risk analysis. A deer suddenly jumping out in front of you is a random event, provided you are not rounding a blind corner too fast, or overdriving your headlights at night, in which case it is "too fast for conditions" I stressed so many times. Assuming you are not violating the laws of physics, then this random event is not more likely to happen only because you are driving faster. Simply put, a deer isn't more likely to jump in front of you only because you travel faster. If you still don't get it, and think that you'd wish you were going slower, let me ask you this: what if the deer jumped out a second later? It would still be right in front of you right? Why would you always assume that a deer is only going to jump in front of the faster driver? For you math heads out there, it is pretty obvious that the faster driver (within reason and bound by the laws of physics) is the safer driver because he spends less time on the road and therefore exposes himself to less risk of such random events. (Note: if you had been paying attention to the road, a deer jumping out wouldn't be a random event. Short of an airplane falling out of the sky, nothing is unpredictable to an alert, careful, watchful and courteous driver.)
Q: If you don't speed, then you won't get any speeding tickets. Problem solved. Why all the fuss?
A: First, there is no guarantee that you won't get any speeding tickets even if you don't speed, because radar makes mistakes, and radar operators make mistakes, too. Secondly, it is too great a safety compromise to make just for the sake of avoiding speeding tickets. Just pick a road (hell, any road) and try to stick to the speed limit, and see how long a queue lines up behind you, how many drivers honk at you, flash at you and try to pass you rudely. This is how bad speed limits are underposted in Ontario. In order to stick to the limit, unless you ride a bicycle, you have to constantly look at your speedometer in order to not go over the limit unknowingly. Now which one is safer, the driver who concentrates on the road or the driver who concentrates on his speedometer? Finally, don't hit a pedestrian just because you are busy checking your speed and can't see him coming...
Q: I still don't feel comfortable pleading not guilty to a speeding charge I know I did commit. I speed everyday and I only got caught once this time, I think I already got a break and am thinking of just paying up instead of going through all this trouble.
A: Let's look at this from a different perspective. You are thinking of pleading guilty, just because you really did speed, right? Do you really understand what the charge is? In a criminal trial, the defendant will be denied a guilty plea if the judge feels that the defendant didn't fully understand what the charge meant, or the defendant's rights not fully explained to him. Also, if the police obtained evidence illegally, even though the facts point out that the defendant should be convicted, the charge(s) will still be dismissed. If you do not go for a trial you'll never know if the Crown's evidence is illegally obtained or not. For example, if the police were to put a hidden camera in your car to videotape your speedometer, the evidence so obtained will be considered illegal. Remember? You are being charged "operating a motor vehicle in excess of the posted speed limit on a provincial highway". Do you fully understand what that means and do you really know if the police obtained evidence legally? i.e. Do you know if the radar/lidar was setup correctly? Do you know the police has had adequate radar/lidar training? Do you know whether the speed limit sign was erected properly according to the provincial regulations (i.e. has to be no higher/lower than a certain height and from a certain distance of the edge of the road, etc). Pleading guilty to a charge you do not fully understand is obstruction of justice. If you are in doubt, plead not guilty and let the court find your guilt. Unfortunately, today's traffic courts are too happy to take money away from anybody who is willing to plead guilty.
Q: If the province (Ontario) is going to raise the maximum speed limits from 100km/h to 120km/h, isn't everybody going to drive 140km/h? That sounds dangerous to me, because I think 100km/h is fast enough, and people would just drive 20km/h faster.
A: This concern is unfounded. And the assumption that everybody would just automatically drive 20km/h faster than the speed limit, regardless of what it is, is simply not true. Take the U.S. for an example. Since the repeal of the National Maximum Speed Limit (NMSL) of 55mph (or 90km/h) in 1995, many states have raised speed limits to 65mph or 70mph. Research has shown that there is little change in what the actual travel speeds are, before or after the speed limit increase. The fact is, underposted speed limits are largely ignored. People drive at speeds they feel comfortable with, without disrespecting the speed limits by too much. In Ontario, most people feel comfortable driving at 120km/h on highway 401, and that's the fact. If the speed limit were set at 140km/h, would you feel safe driving at 160km/h? If the speed limit were at 160km/h? Would you drive at 180km/h? I don't think so. The point is, most people have their comfort zones, and most drivers are reasonable people who just want to get from point A to point B efficiently. For the past 60 years, traffic engineers and scientists have always proposed that speed limits should be posted according to the 85th percentile rule. The 85th percentile speed is the speed at which 85% of the people comfortably drive at or below. If the speed limit is the 85th percentile speed, that means we define the upper 15% to be excessive, which deserve punishment. Sounds good to me. The problem is, traffic courts, insurance companies, police agencies and other government entities who profit finanically from tickets will choose to support absurdly low speed limits.
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