Q&A - Improperly Equipped Motor Vehicle

Q&A ImageWould you please explain section 219(1) of the Motor Vehicle Act? My driver window gear stopped working on the Labour Day weekend (4 days ago) and I have not had time to get back to the dealer to have it repaired. The officer informed me that this is a safety issue if the vehicle ended up in the river I would be trapped. My thoughts were twofold: one that the window likely wouldn't work underwater even if in working condition beforehand, and secondly that an inoperable window doesn't seem dangerous enough to warrant a fine. I've been looking today through the MVA and other regulations to see how section 219 is applied and cannot seem to clarify the situation for myself.

Comments

Answer

219 (1) A person must not drive or operate a motor vehicle or trailer on a highway or rent a motor vehicle or trailer unless it is equipped in all respects in compliance with this Act and the regulations.

Your window winder is dealt with in the Schedule to Division 7 of the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations in paragraph 10:

10 The left front window shall be capable of being readily opened and closed to facilitate manual signals.

So, if you cannot readily open and close the window, your vehicle is not in compliance with the MVAR.

2.02 Notwithstanding section 7.09,

(a) a vehicle on a highway that, as a result of collision, or otherwise, ceases to be properly equipped under the Act or these regulations shall be removed from the highway forthwith or taken on the highway to a garage or repair shop by a tow car or other vehicle capable of safely carrying out the movement, and

(b) a vehicle that is not properly equipped under the Act or these regulations may be moved on a highway, in order to take the vehicle to a garage or repair shop, by a tow car or other vehicle capable of safely carrying out the movement, and

in either case, if the person then in charge of the vehicle takes reasonable precaution for the safety of traffic on the highway, these regulations are, with respect to the equipment that is defective, suspended.

Considering that the MVAR actually requires that your vehicle be removed from the highway and kept removed until the defect is repaired, receiving a ticket and being allowed to continue is less harsh. The officer could choose to issue a repair order as well or instead of the ticket at his discretion.

Now, let's look at the ticket itself. If section 219(1) was employed, it should say something to the effect of "Improperly equipped motor vehicle, inoperative window winder" or something to that effect. It must specify what (one or more of) the defect(s) is (are) so that you have sufficient notice in law of what you are being charged with. I have seen traffic court justices dismiss tickets that merely said something to the effect of "defective motor vehicle" because the person did not have sufficient notice of what the defects were to mount a proper defence to the charge.

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