Failure to Keep Right

Q&A ImageI got a ticket from an officer for "failure to keep right" after he showed up an hour after I had hydroplaned off of a ONE WAY to the right of the road. He gave me this ticket and he said he was being "nice" because he felt he could have gave me a speeding ticket (even thought he wasn't there) Do I have a case ?



Don't get hung up on the fact that the officer wasn't there. Very few criminal charges involve an officer being there, yet criminals are convicted. It depends on what the evidence available and whether it supports a charge or not.

Driver on right

150  (1) The driver of a vehicle must confine the course of the vehicle to the right hand half of the roadway if the roadway is of sufficient width and it is practicable to do so, except

(a) when overtaking and passing a vehicle proceeding in the same direction,

(b) when the right hand half of the roadway is closed to traffic while under construction or repair,

(c) on a highway designated and marked by signs for one way traffic,

(d) if necessary when operating snow removing equipment, or

(e) if

(i)   the movement of a vehicle, or combination of vehicles, is permitted by and is done in conformity with the terms of the oversize permit issued under the Commercial Transport Act, and

(ii)   the width of a vehicle, or combination of vehicles, or the width of a load on the vehicle makes the operation of the vehicle or combination of vehicles on the right hand half of the roadway unsafe.

So, unless it is impractical, you are required to stay on the roadway in the appropriate lane(s). It appears that you did not. You will have to show the court that the roadway was not wide enough or that something made it impractical to do so. A tree fallen across the roadway might be an example of something that would affect both width and practicability.

Careless driving prohibited

144  (1) A person must not drive a motor vehicle on a highway

(c) at a speed that is excessive relative to the road, traffic, visibility or weather conditions.

Hydroplaning depends on 4 things, depth of the water on the roadway, tire pressure, tread depth and speed. If the roadway and tires are in normal condition for the circumstances, then that leaves speed. The court could infer that hydroplaning off of the roadway was due to unsafe speed after taking into account road and tire condition. No radar / laser / pace by patrol car required.

Since I did not investigate, it would be difficult for me to know about whether you do or don't have a case, but this is the rule the ticket was issued for not following and there are plenty of articles on the site advising how to deal with the ticket. I'll leave the rest for you to decide.

At one time ...

... there used to be a specific offence in the Motor Vehicle Act which would surely have been applicable, here - Driving too fast for Conditions, I believe it was.

Might be the weather conditions, the vehicle condition (including tires), the traffic condition, the visibility conditions, etc.  The penalty would be 3 Demerits, as with most speeding tickets.  And let's face it, if a driver hydroplanes, and the consequence is a crash, then he's guilty of this.

This type of 'accident' (I hate that term, it's a mistake, an error on the part of the driver) is so prevalent that the NHTSA have calculated over 50% of single-vehicle crashes could be eliminated by vehicle stability systems - which is why they'll soon be engineered into every new vehicle, if that hasn't already happened.


It Still Exists

Section 144(1)(c) Speed Relative to Conditions is still part of the Motor Vehicle Act.

Follow Up Question

Thanks for that!

Now , I'm wondering how I ask for a lesser fine in court? I don't care about the money but it's the points I can't have. Somebody told me if I explain why I can't lose my license ( I go to college 45 minutes away and live outside of town ) the judge will take that into consideration, but I'm not sure if that's true?

Disputing the Penalty

You can dispute the penalty, but only for the money value, not for the points. If you are interested in that search this site using the words in the subject line and you will find out how.

The only way that you can avoid the points is by having the ticket dismissed. You would have to successfully dispute the allegation to have that happen.

No Chance At All?

Okay, so basically you're saying I'm screwed either way? If I try and get it dismissed it won't happen because I crashed a car and there's no way to get no points? So there's almost no point of even going.

There's Always a Chance.

You just have to guage what you think they are and make a decision on what to do from there.

The officer may not show up or make a mistake in the testimony, The Judicial Justice may not see it the way that the officer did. You will not know unless you try, and it is your right to try if you wish to.

Don't take my word for it entirely either, do more research with different sources, possibly starting on the Traffic Links page or by taking advantage of Lawyer Referral.

It does boil down to if you pay, are found to have not disputed, or are found guilty in court, you will get points. The only way to avoid points is to be found not guilty at trial or to convince the officer to withdraw the ticket.

Failing to keep right

If you did not stray over to the left half of the road, I don't see how

a ticket for failing to keep right could stick. The fact that the officer

said he could have been less nice and given a ticket with harsher

penalties is not relevant to whether or not you failed to keep to the right.

If the ticket fails in court, the question in my mind is whether the officer

could now decide to write a ticket for something else e.g. speeding -

can anyone enlighten us on that?


For fn0

It's actually failing to confine the vehicle to the right hand half of the roadway. If you are not on the roadway, either to the left or to the right of the right hand half there is potential for a charge.

It is usually poor form to come back post trial with a ticket for another offence arising out of the same circumstances.

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