Q&A - Unhappy With Driving Complaint Resolution

Q&A ImageI recently reported a reckless truck driver to the RCMP, they are writing up a ticket but giving it to the trucking company who is the registered owner of the truck and not the driver. The registered owner indentified the driver but still the Officer said the ticket has to go to the registered owner. Does this sound right to you?

This is was I was originally told - ""I spoke with XXXXXXX today and was advised that the driver in question has not been complained about before, so I verbally warned the company (as they would have been the ones to pay as the registered owner of the vehicle).  The owner is going to speak with the driver as they don't want to have any further issues.""

That was not good enough for me and I insisted I wanted the driver charged and then they told me this "I have written up a ticket and while the driver information was provided to me, the ticket goes to the registered owner of the vehicle.  The ticket and file have been forwarded to a supervisor and they will forward it to the town the company's headquarters is in to be served."

After pushing it they did issue a ticket to the registered owner - The ticket issued is for Drive without consideration (MVA 144(1)(b)). Not sure what that means?



When I investigated a driving complaint my first concern was my witness, the complainant. Would they follow through to court if I issued a ticket? Were they able to clearly describe the circumstances of the violation? Were the circumstances such that if I was able to identify the driver, there was a substantial possibility of a conviction? If I could say yes, then I would take a witness statement and start an investigation.

The Motor Vehicle Act allowed me to advise the registered owner of the vehicle of the violation and demand that they identify the driver.

Duty to give information

84  (1) If a peace officer has reason to believe that a motor vehicle has been involved in an accident or in a contravention of this Act, the Commercial Transport Act or the Transportation Act, the regulations under any of these Acts, the bylaws of a municipality or the laws of a treaty first nation, and so informs the owner or a person in the motor vehicle, it is the duty of the owner or person, as the case may be, if required by the peace officer, to give all information it is in his or her power to give relating to the identification of the driver of the motor vehicle at the relevant time or during the relevant period.

If the driver could not be identified, then I had the option of charging the registered owner or owner of the vehicle.

Liability of owner for contravention of Act

83 (2) The owner of a motor vehicle must be held liable for any contravention of

(a) this Act or the regulations,

(b) the Transportation Act or the regulations under it,

(c) the Firearm Act in respect of the carrying or use of firearms in motor vehicles,

(d) the traffic bylaws of a municipality, or

(e) the traffic laws of a treaty first nation.

     (2.1) The owner of a motor vehicle must be held liable for the contravention of a prescribed enactment in relation to parking.

The only way out of this is to show that the vehicle has been stolen or that the person no longer owns the vehicle.

If the driver was identified, I then went to them, explained the circumstances of the complaint, warned them about making an admission and offered them an opportunity to explain the situation from their point of view.

After reviewing all the information, again, if I felt that I could successfully prosecute the ticket, I would issue one to the driver. To me, this is where the responsibility should rest.

You are correct, a ticket issued to the owner or registered owner does not result in penalty points if the ticket is paid or the owner is convicted. A ticket issued to the driver will result in points being assessed if the ticket is paid or the driver is convicted.

This situation seems to indicate that the driver is usually some distance from the place of the offence. It would need a second officer to interview the driver once he or she is identified or to have the driver drop by the detachment for interview on a subsequent trip. Both can be done, but there is some reluctance to involve the second officer unless it is a significant violation. I might infer this to be the case as the charge is one of the more serious under the Motor Vehicle Act.

Careless driving prohibited

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

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

It is also a charge that tends to be more difficult to prove. I have had justices tell me over the years that it is often better to issue a number of tickets for the smaller violations that made up the whole picture than it was to issue this ticket. If the prosecution of 144(1)(b) was not successful, you had nothing, but you could usually convict of some or all of the lesser offences.

To review it all, the choice of what to do does lie with the investigating officer. Since I am not privy to all the circumstances, I can't really comment on why this was the chosen action. No doubt there is a reason for it. All is not lost however, if the ticket is completed properly and either paid or convicted the violation will become part of the carrier safety profile of the company. Even though no penalty points are involved there is still this record that will follow the company.

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