E Ticketing and Ticket Dispute Adjudication

Question MarkThis article was written in May of 2015 when there was a brief flurry in the media about the implementation of electronic traffic tickets and dispute adjudication replacing traffic court. Amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act to allow these changes were made in 2012, but fast forward to March 2022 and no changes to traffic ticket disputes have occurred.

In 2015 I traded e-mails with the Public Affairs office of the Ministry of Justice to see if I could learn more.

I was told that implementation of the changes will be conducted in two phases, with electronic ticketing proceeding first. E-tickets and on line payment methods have been implemented but are not yet common practice in the entire province.

The Ministry points out that the changes are intended to create system efficiencies and make processes more accessible for citizens. It is not uncommon to have to wait as much as a year or more currently for your day in traffic court. If the resolution process is quicker RoadSafetyBC will be able to take action against high risk drivers more promptly.

Bill 17 - 2022 Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act appears to be moving the process forward again. Proposed amendments to the Offence Act would change the way traffic tickets are disputed. 

Will this take another 10 years to implement? We'll see...

Is the statement attributed to the Provincial Government: "...the changes are intended to create system efficiencies and make processes more accessible for citizens." spin ?

The (former) accused, who is now deemed guilty at first contact by the accusing member, has lost the following rights :

- Presumption of innocents

- Right to a public trial

- Right not to give evidence in his own trial

- Right to be tried by an independent trier of fact

- Right to cross examine witnesses

We'll now have a system where.  The motorist is guilty, he/she may appeal their guilt by supplying a report of what they say happened.  That report will be reviewed in conjunction with a report from the police officer, in private by a Motor Vehicle Branch employee. 

The spin is this "new wonderful system" is going to be efficient, the question is: "Efficient for who ?"

Also the statement : "It is not uncommon to have to wait as much as a year or more currently for your day in traffic court."

That statement, seems to be presenting the message that it is good that one gets a trial very quickly and this is a big concern to all the (former) accused motorist.  Perhaps more correct, "It is not uncommon for the Government to have to wait as much as a year or more, currently to get paid their fine"

If the government thinks they have a problem with court delays, perhaps more courts, or more Judicial Justice of the Peace working longer hours (night court ?).

If you want to talk about atrocities with respect to delays, what about the photo radar system that was tossed ? The government didn’t think there was anything wrong with the photo radar system, where the police took a photo of a car and weeks later the photo was sent to the registered owner. “You are alleged to have been speeding three weeks ago at 1:23 PM on XYZ Street.

I’m going to formulate a defense on something that happened three weeks ago, that I wasn’t advised of for three weeks ?

I don’t recall what I had for lunch yesterday.

The stolen vehicle that sped through photo radar, the poor victim who lost his vehicle gets victimized again when a photo of his vehicle arrives with the government demanding he “own up for the violation” ?

Those delays were all fine and good ?

The only legitimate way to settle legal disputes between a citizen and the state is to be able to compel your accuser (the police) to present their evidence in an impartial court. The proposed tribunal system eliminates all of the rights inherent in our courts. This only works for the government, not citizens.

Not to be picky DriveSmartBC but May 2012? I presume you mean to edit it to May 2015 in your original post

I mean May 2012 and that's exactly what I was told.

This recent article: https://bc.ctvnews.ca/b-c-government-quietly-tables-changes-to-the-way-drivers-fight-traffic-tickets-1.5850107 quotes Attorney General David Eby (emphasis mine):

“A significant number of British Columbians, when they get a ticket, they’ll dispute it. About 80 percent of tickets are disputed,” he said. “What we’re trying to do is save time and money and resources in the system, and also at the same time make it more convenient for the people who do challenge their tickets.”

That is a tremendous rate of disputes, I wonder if that's an error or Mr. Eby's part. But if that is true there are no changes that can be done to the dispute process to alleviate the fact that 4 in 5 tickets get disputed. I doubt that its the dispute process itself that the people love so much that they want to do it over and over again. For one reason or another people don't think the ticket they got is fair, so any adjustments to make the dispute process more expedient and harder for people go win will only add to their feelings of unfairness.

Should we really expect or accept that 80% of road tickets issued are going to be disputed? Can you imagine any other process or system where its expected that 80% of transactions are going to be troublesome?

I'm sorry to say it, but this isn't a road safety tool, its a dispute manufacturing system at this point.