Q&A - Falling Asleep at the Wheel

Q&A ImageQ: I recently dozed off while driving home from work at 1:00 in the afternoon after doing a few late night / early morning shifts. I drove off the road and struck a guardrail doing damage to the truck. RCMP attended and wrote me up for "driving without consideration." I was told it would be $196 fine.

I thought that was fair enough but later found out it was also 6 points as well. Question. It seems a little heavy handed of a penalty. I would have paid the fine but 6 points? I have disputed the ticket and am wondering if there is not another charge that would have been more suited to the situation.

There was not anyone else involved in the accident. Penalties are there to deter people from committing the same deliberate act again and again. Dozing off while driving is of course dangerous but not really deliberate.


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Comments

Answer

Driving while impaired by fatigue can be every bit as dangerous as driving while impaired by alcohol or a drug as you have found out. Thank goodness it appears that no one else was around, you are not hurt and your vehicle can be repaired or replaced. It could easily have been otherwise with a head on collision if you drifted into the other lane or left the road where there was no guard rail.

Choosing to drive while you are impaired by fatigue is not a deliberate act? I suspect that you knew you were having trouble staying awake and chose to continue rather than pull over and nap at the roadside. Perhaps like many drunk drivers you chose to do this because you were "almost home."

Yes, 6 points is a stiff hit, but if you drove into someone else we would probably be looking at criminal charges here, dangerous driving or criminal negligence.

To get to your question, you could always offer to plead guilty to failing to keep to the right in exchange for dropping the driving without consideration for others using the highway at the time of the trial. The officer might choose to accept that.

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.

(2) The driver of a vehicle proceeding at less than normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing must drive the vehicle in the right hand lane then available for traffic, or as closely as practicable to the right hand curb or edge of the roadway, except when overtaking and passing a vehicle proceeding in the same direction, or when preparing for a left hand turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

(3) The driver of a vehicle passing around a rotary traffic island must drive the vehicle to the right of the island.

You Got Off Lucky!

If your not tottally Wide Awake,Stay where your at and SLEEP,,or phone for a ride. Imagine yourself waking up,looking at the minivan You Just wrote off,,all to find it WAS a familly You just KILLED.

And Your Worried about 6 points,,As I am a proffesonal driver,I think you should at least get a 6 month suspension,for your first offence of falling asleep at the wheel.

I personally think the Law is way to Leanient,Think of the Outcome of what could happen,,,,Before you drive!!!!

Active error, or passive error?

I think that's at the core of the dicussion. But we all have to ensure that we're fit and well before driving, or continuing to do so.

There are times when the cops hand out at 6 point tickets under MVA Act/Regs that seem like overkill. But your driving, by your own admission, was in fact careless and inconsiderate.

 

Careless driving prohibited

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

(a)without due care and attention,

(b)without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway, or

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

(2)A person who contravenes subsection (1) (a) or (b) is liable on conviction to a fine of not less than $100 and, subject to this minimum fine, section 4 of the Offence Act applies.

That nobody was hurt, this time, isn't a mitigating factor. This concept isn't confined to any driver choices behind the wheel. 

Not a valid ticket

I can't believe the responses from you guys; this is a clear-cut case of absolutely nothing.

Unless there is an independent willing-to-cooperate witness, the cops have no concrete evidence, except hearsay.
Dispute, plea not guilty, sit through the officer's testimony of how they weren't there. Enjoy the Justice's lecture to the officer about the necessity of having *expletive* evidence of a crime having been committed before alleging a crime. The case will be thrown out for the lack of prima facie.

Kindly thank the Justice for letting you go.

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