Q&A - Speed in a Municipality

Q&A ImageA friend of mine just received a speeding ticket and she has some questions about it. The description of offence says "speed signs", ACT is "MVA" and section is "146(7)". What does this mean? She says it is supposed to be a speeding ticket but she doesn't think the actual speed was recorded. There are 2 numbers "91-89" on the top right corner of the ticket (right above the ticket number but she isn't sure if that's the speed or not. Lastly, if she decides to dispute the ticket, is there a chance her penalty is increased by the judge?



Your friend has been charged under this section of the Motor Vehicle Act:

146(7) If, under a bylaw adopted by a municipality, signs have been erected or placed on a highway limiting the rate of speed of motor vehicles driven or operated on a designated portion of the highway, a person must not, when the sign is in place on the highway, drive or operate a motor vehicle on that portion of the highway at a greater rate of speed than that indicated on the sign.

Crown needs to establish:

* A bylaw exists in the municipality allowing for the erection of speed signs
* The speed signs were erected indicating a certain speed
* The vehicle was being driven on the highway controlled by these signs
* The vehicle was exceeding this speed
* The identity of the driver and that the violation ticket was issued to them

Police do not record the speed that a vehicle was measured at on the face of the ticket, rather it is in the officer's notes. It is possible that this is two measurements of her speed, 91 km/h and 89 km/h but I am only guessing. The speed might be inferred by the value of the ticketed amount, $138 indicating a speed from 1 to 20 over, $196 from 21 to 40 over.

I've always been interested in seeing if the justice can be convinced to raise the penalty. Case law says that there is no authority in statute for this to occur. If there needs to be a greater penalty, the option of prohibiting the driver is available to the justice. However, the Motor Vehicle Act does speak about speeding penalties:

148.1(1) In relation to a contravention of section 140, 146 (1), (3), (5) or (7), 147 or 148

(1), the Lieutenant Governor in Council may prescribe

(a) a fine amount, and
(b) a supplemental fine amount.

(2) Without limiting subsection (1), the Lieutenant Governor in Council may prescribe

(a) different fine amounts for the different contraventions referred to in subsection (1), and
(b) supplemental fine amounts that vary in relation to the degree by which a person, in committing the offence, exceeds, by a prescribed rate of speed, the applicable speed limit established under section 140, 146 (1), (3), (5) or (7), 147 or 148 (1), as the case may be.

(3) A person who contravenes section 140, 146 (1), (3), (5) or (7), 147 or 148 (1) is liable on conviction to a minimum fine of not less than the aggregate of

(a) the fine amount prescribed in relation to the contravention, and
(b) the supplemental fine amount, if any, prescribed in relation to, and applicable to the degree of, the contravention.

(4) If, by means of a violation ticket defined in section 1 of the Offence Act, a person is charged with an offence under section 140, 146 (1), (3), (5) or (7), 147 or 148(1) of this Act and the evidence proves the offence but to a different degree than that reflected by the supplemental fine amount included in the ticketed amount, as that term is defined in section 1 of the Offence Act,

(a) the person may be convicted of the offence, and
(b) the supplemental fine amount may be varied in accordance with the amount prescribed under subsection (2) (b) to reflect the degree by which the person exceeded the applicable speed limit.

Police officers typically wait until 15 to 20 or more over the limit and then when they do write, often choose the $138 instead of the $196 when the person is more than 20 but less than 40 over. I would argue that this section requires the justice to impose the $196 fine if the evidence of speed was between 20 and 40 over. If the officer wrote only $138 this would effectively result in a raised penalty. However, I have not seen this done in court.

speed in a municipality

How is a driver to know where a municipality starts and ends and consequently where sec 146 (1) of the MVA applies?

How do You Know?

On major highways the speeds are posted. I cannot think of a municipality that I have entered that did not have signs.

Municipalities generally post their boundaries with signs "Entering (name of municipality)."

If you are in a built up area and you are going faster than everyone else, it's a good possibility that the 50 zone is in effect.

Speed in a municipality

What are the requirements to post the municipal borders to invoke sec 146 (1)?

Posting Boundaries

There are no requirements to do this as far as I am aware.

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