Q&A - Ticketed for Slow Driving
I just got home from my week of driving and today I received a ticket for "Slow Driving" which I don't understand or agree with.
I was travelling back from Creston and had made it all the way through Castlegar and up the east side of the Paulson Pass and had stopped at the brake check to make sure all was okay for the steep drop towards Christina Lake. The recommended speed for trucks is 40 km/h I started down the hill at about that speed and within a couple minutes a couple of cars appeared with the first one being a marked RCMP car. I couldn't so anything as the hill was steep and I had a FULL load of almost max weight.
By the time I got to the Paulson bridge there were a few more vehicles, I went across the bridge and sped up a bit as the hill isn't quite as steep. I knew i was within a minute of a very long passing lane and all the cars could go around me. I started down the next section when the RCMP car but his lights on. I really didn't have anywhere to pull over but I did the best i could hugging the side of the road and giving the cars barely enough room to pass. He really hadn't put me in a good situation. The officer had to walk up the right side of the truck and I had to roll my passenger window down to talk to him.
He informed me he had stopped me because I was travelling to slow and hadn't pulled over.
The hill is 8-10% is spots, I was doing the speed that was recommended as well as the speed the truck was capable of doing SAFELY.
The first couple of pullouts where covered with snow and the one he told me I should have used didn't look big enough to safely pull a truck over and safely have the cars go by me and not become a risk of on coming cars.
I just feel I was given a ticket for not doing something dangerous. By speeding up I could easily "fry" my brakes or risk having the truck get away from me and into a runaway situation. I have seen thins happen to trucks and never want to be in that situation.
My #1 priority is safety and I think I was put in a situation that wasn't safe, it isn't as easy to pull over in a big truck. Some peple spend up to $5000 to properly learn how to drive in the mountain and I take pride in never smoking my brakes .
Anyway, I was given a ticket which I will dispute and trying not to point fingers here but it just seemed like the RCMP officer actually got impatient and used the power he had to deal with it. That is my opinion of course.
I was hoping you had some advice or help you could offer.
Slow Driving Rules
Here is what the Motor Vehicle Act has to say about this situation:
145 (1) A person must not drive a motor vehicle at so slow a speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.
(2) If the driver of a motor vehicle is driving at so slow a speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, a peace officer may require the driver to increase his or her speed, or to remove the motor vehicle from the roadway to the nearest suitable place and to refrain from causing or allowing the motor vehicle to move from that place until directed to do so by a peace officer.
In your case the officer had not spoken to you about driving slowly prior to issuing the ticket, so we must be dealing with section 145(1). Is that the section written on your ticket?
The crux of your situation is whether the reduced speed was necessary for safe operation of the vehicle. From your explanation, it appears that this is easily justified. If you drove faster you would put yourself and other road users at risk.
The pullouts are another matter. I have seen them marked with traffic control devices (signs) here in BC telling slow traffic that they must use pullouts to allow faster traffic to proceed. Failing to do this is the offence of failing to obey a traffic control device, not slow driving.
Obeying traffic controls
125 Unless otherwise directed by a peace officer or a person authorized by a peace officer to direct traffic, every driver of a vehicle and every pedestrian must obey the instructions of an applicable traffic control device.
So, if the signs were not present and your ticket was not written under section 125 we don't need to concern ourselves with this.
Like you, I would be extremely cautious of moving such a large and heavy vehicle into a pullout in the winter. One sometimes cannot safely determine where the pavement ends and the shoulder or ditch begins because of the way the snow has been ploughed to fill it all in. I do appreciate that you did consider the courtesy of allowing the other drivers to pass had the pullouts been available and safe to use.
We are now to the point of deciding what to do about the ticket you were issued, and I have dealt with that as a separate issue in this article:
How to Deal With a Traffic Ticket