Q&A - Slow Down, Move Over Ticket

Q&A ImageMy girlfriend, being an anxious driver, asked me if I would drive because road conditions were slippery. I still have my N, but had no N sign in my girlfriends car. I figured it was safer if I drove to the stop in Merritt since she did not feel comfortable.

When we were almost in Merritt, cars started flashing lights at us to warn of cops. I was already going speed limit so I figured I had nothing to worry about. After about 5 minutes, I rounded a corner and about 100m from the corner there were 2 cop cars pulled over on the side of the road.

I instinctively slowed down even more, and looked to see if I could change lanes. There was another car less than a car length behind me, and I figured it was unsafe to pull in front of him. In order for me to get behind him, I would have to break hard, which is normally not a good idea in late October right around a corner.

The car beside me was also braking as he saw the cops which made it even more difficult to pull behind him.

In the short amount of time from when I saw the cops to when I passed them, I tried instead to slow and give them a wide berth.

A cop turned his lights on and pulled me over. He said he pulled me over because I failed to slow to 70 and pull in the other lane. He also noticed I had no N on the back of my car.

I tried to explain my reasoning but he was in a rush and never listened.

He looked at my record and saw if I had any more demerit points against my license I would be suspended. He told me if he gave me a ticket for having no "N" up, that it would give me demerits points, and that a ticket for "Failure to move over for a stopped emergency vehicle" section 47.02(3) would give me no demerits points and just carried a 173$ fine.

He gave me the failure to pull over ticket and gave me an N to put on my car.

Later, I phoned a friend I have who is a cop who told me the first cop was wrong and that the failure to pull over ticket carries 3 demerits and the N ticket has none.

I work at a car dealership and would lose my job if I lost my license, I am a year from being able to get my full license, and could not possibly afford to lose my license again.

First off, which cop is right?

If I'm on driving probation with my N and I get either of those tickets, would I lose my license?

Is it better to get an N ticket or a failure to pull over ticket?

Would I stand any chance if I brought this to court? If so, what could I possibly say?

Finally, if my friend was right and the no N ticket is the one I needed to get, is there any way I could talk to the cop and get it switched? Or if I asked the judge in court if he would switch them would that work?

I agree I deserved the no N ticket, but I truly feel I did the best I could in my given situation with the failure to pull over ticket.

One final note, my girlfriend said she would stand as a witness for me as she was there for the whole thing, would that help?

Comments

One Question

I'm not certain from what you have explained, so I will ask. When you first came around the corner to find two police vehicles parked on the side of the road, were their emergency lights on or off?

Yes

There lights were on yes. 

The Law

The Law:

Definition 47.01

In this Division, "official vehicle" means

(a) a motor vehicle operated by a peace officer, constable or member of the police branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the discharge of his or her duty,

(b) an ambulance as defined in the Emergency and Health Services Act,

(c) a motor vehicle operated by fire services personnel as defined in the Fire Services Act in the discharge of personnel duties,

(d) a tow car, and

(e) a motor vehicle operated by one of the following in the discharge of his or her duty:

(i) a member of the Conservation Officer Service as described in section 106 of the Environmental Management Act;

(ii) a person authorized to exercise the powers and perform the duties of a constable or peace officer for purposes set out in the Inspectors Authorization Regulation, B.C. Reg. 372/92;

(iii) a person authorized to exercise the powers conferred on, and perform the duties of, peace officers for the purposes of enforcing the Passenger Transportation Act and the Passenger Transportation Regulation;

(iv) a park ranger appointed under section 4 (2) of the Park Act;

(v) a person employed in the Ministry of Forests and Range who is appointed as a special provincial constable under section 9 of the Police Act. 

When an official vehicle is stopped

47.02 (1) Subject to subsection (2), if an official vehicle with illuminated flashing red or blue lamps or lights, or both, or flashing amber lamps or lights is stopped on or on the side of a highway, a person driving a motor vehicle on the highway in either direction must drive the motor vehicle at the following rate of speed when approaching or passing the official vehicle:

(a) 70 km/h if signs on the highway limit the rate of speed to 80 km/h or more;

(b) 40 km/h if signs on the highway limit the rate of speed to less than 80 km/h.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a driver who approaches or passes an official vehicle from the opposite direction on a highway that contains a laned roadway or is divided by a median.

(3) In addition to the requirements of subsection (1), a driver travelling in a lane adjacent to the stopped official vehicle or in the same lane in which the official vehicle is stopped must, if it is safe to do so, and unless otherwise directed by a peace officer, move his or her motor vehicle into another lane of the laned roadway, if any.

Analysis

The police vehicles parked at the side of the road with emergency lights flashing are "official vehicles" by definition, and because the emergency lights were flashing 47.02(1)(a) does apply and 47.02(3) may apply. The latter requires that you move over if it is safe to do so. To successfully dispute the charge, you will need to show that it was not safe for you to move over. It sounds as if you may be able to establish this according to your story. If the justice agrees, the ticket will be dismissed.

Your girlfriend could act as a witness in court. Her testimony will be weighed by the justice for credibility as with any other witness before the court and may help your defence.

As for penalty points, they are listed in the Schedule to Division 28 MVAR. A conviction for either of the two offences set out in 47.02 will result in 3 penalty points being assessed. This section shares the distinction with 7A.01 MVAR as the only ones to have penalty points associated with a conviction. A ticket for a violation of 30.13 MVAR, fail to display new driver sign, would not have points. (if charged under section 25(15) MVA for the new driver sign you would end up with 3 points.)

Driving prohibitions for points come from the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles. The thresholds are part of the Driver Improvement Program and these are explained in the Driver Improvement Program Policies and Guidelines.

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