Q&A - Excessive Speed and Vehicle Impound

Q&A ImageMy girlfriend used my car last night and was caught speeding. Besides the ticket, my vehicle was impounded for 7 days. I was out of province and returned today and now can't get to work. So... How is this my problem?

My car is insured, she has a license and was fined as well. She drove her car to pick me up.

She still allowed to drive but I can't?? This is absurd.

I need answers ASAP before contacting a lawyer as this has nothing to do with me. Fine drivers an arm and leg. Make them pay NOT me!! For example. If I drive a cab, a rental car or a school bus. You tow them as well??

Answers please.

Comments

Answer

Unfortunately, you are mistaken that it has nothing to do with you. You are responsible for your vehicle, regardless of whether you are driving or not.

Liability of owner for contravention of Act

83 (1) In this section: "owner" includes

(a) a person in possession of a motor vehicle under a contract by which the person may become the owner on full compliance with the contract, and in whose name alone the motor vehicle is registered, and

(b) a person who rents or leases a motor vehicle from another person; "traffic bylaws of a municipality" includes bylaws enacted under this or another Act by a municipality with respect to the parking of vehicles, or the use of parking meters; "traffic laws of a treaty first nation" includes the laws of a treaty first nation, enacted under its final agreement, with respect to the parking of vehicles or the use of parking meters.

(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.

(3) An owner must not be held liable under under subsection (2) or (2.1) if the owner establishes that

(a) the person who was, at the time of the contravention, in possession of the motor vehicle was not entrusted by the owner with possession, or

(b) the owner exercised reasonable care and diligence when the person entrusted the motor vehicle to the person who was, at the time of the contravention, in possession of the motor vehicle.

(4) If an owner is liable under this section, in place of the fine or term of imprisonment specified in an enactment for the offence, a fine of not more than $2 000 may be imposed.

(5) On a prosecution of the owner of a motor vehicle for an offence under this section, the burden is on the defendant to prove that

(a) the person in possession of the motor vehicle was not a person entrusted by the owner with possession, or

(b) the registered owner is not the owner.

(6) An owner of a motor vehicle is liable under under subsection (2) or (2.1) even if the motor vehicle, at the time of the contravention, is unattended or is not in the possession of any person.

(7) An owner must not be held liable under under subsection (2) or (2.1)

(a) with respect to an offence under section 24 (1), 95, 102, 224 or 226, or

(b) with respect to any offence where the driver has been convicted of (i) the same offence, or (ii) an included offence arising out of the same circumstances.

The only way to remove yourself from liability for the speeding offence is to show that the vehicle was stolen, or you exercised due diligence when you loaned it to the driver, meaning that you were reasonably sure they they would operate your vehicle within the law when they had possession of it.

Similarly, you are also responsible for red light camera and photo radar violations:

Liability of owner for speeding and traffic light violations

83.1 (1) In this section: "owner" includes

(a) a person in possession of a motor vehicle under a contract by which the person may become the owner on full compliance with the contract, and in whose name alone the motor vehicle is registered under this Act,

(b) a person who rents or leases a motor vehicle from another person, and

(c) a person who holds a licence under section 38, 41, 42 or 44;

"speed monitoring device" means a speed monitoring device prescribed under subsection (8) that is capable of photographing or capturing the image of a motor vehicle while accurately and simultaneously measuring and recording its speed;

"traffic control signal" has the same meaning as in section 119;

"traffic light safety device" means a traffic light safety device prescribed under subsection (8) that is capable of photographing or capturing one or more images of a motor vehicle and of accurately and simultaneously recording data related to the motor vehicle and a traffic control signal.

(2) The owner of a motor vehicle is liable for the contravention of section 140, 146 (1), (3), (5) or (7), 147 or 148 (1) if evidence of the contravention was gathered through the use of a prescribed speed monitoring device.

(2.1) The owner of a motor vehicle is liable for the contravention of section 129 (1) or (5) (a), 131 (1) (a) or (2) (a) or 134 if evidence of the contravention was gathered through the use of a prescribed traffic light safety device.

(3) An owner is not liable under subsection (2) or (2.1) if the owner establishes that

(a) the person who was, at the time of the contravention, in possession of the motor vehicle was not entrusted by the owner with possession, or

(b) the owner exercised reasonable care and diligence in entrusting the motor vehicle to the person who was, at the time of the contravention, in possession of the motor vehicle.

(4) If an owner is liable under this section, in place of the fine or term of imprisonment specified in an enactment for the offence, a fine of not more than $2 000 may be imposed.

(5) On a prosecution of the owner of a motor vehicle for an offence under this section, the burden is on the defendant to prove that

(a) the person in possession of the motor vehicle was not a person entrusted by the owner with possession, or

(b) the registered owner is not the owner.

(6) No owner is liable under subsection (2) or (2.1) with respect to any offence if the driver has been convicted of

(a) the same offence, or

(b) an included offence arising out of the same circumstances.

(7) [Not in force. Repealed 2001-32-25.]

(8) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may prescribe

(a) a speed monitoring device for the purpose of subsection (2), and

(b) a traffic light safety device for the purpose of subsection (2.1).

(9) Without limiting subsection (2), (2.1) or (8), evidence that is gathered by a speed monitoring device under subsection (2) or by a traffic light safety device under subsection (2.1) may be gathered by any method that captures the image of a motor vehicle and allows the image to be reproduced including, without limitation, by film or by electronic means.

(10) Data, which may be in an encoded form, may be electronically and simultaneously recorded on the captured image under subsection (9).

(11) Without limiting any other provision in this section, the recorded image under subsection (10) may be converted from one format to another, transmitted, stored or reproduced by electronic or any other means that allows the recorded image to be reproduced in intelligible form including, without limitation, electronically.

(12) If the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia has stored a recorded image in electronic format under subsection (11),

(a) the corporation may provide the recorded image by reproducing it in electronic format or paper format, or on a record that enables the information to be subsequently displayed or immediately accessible in visible form, and

(b) the reproduction referred to in paragraph (a) has the same effect for all purposes as if it were an original document, if the reproduction

(i) is certified by an officer of the corporation under section 82, or

(ii) contains a statement that it is an authentic reproduction of a recorded image stored in a database in electronic format by the corporation.

(13) For the purposes of section 83.2 (8) and subsections (11) and (12) of this section, a recorded image may include an enlargement of the area of the recorded image depicting the licence plate of the motor vehicle.

Excessive speeding mentions the owner specifically as well:

Fines for speeding offences

148.1(5) The owner of a motor vehicle who is liable under section 83.1 (2) for a contravention referred to in subsection (1) of this section 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.

(6) If a violation ticket, defined in section 1 of the Offence Act, is issued to an owner of a motor vehicle in respect of an offence under section 83.1 (2) of this Act and the evidence proves the contravention of section 140, 146 (1), (3), (5) or (7), 147 or 148 (1), as the case may be, 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 owner may be convicted, 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 applicable speed limit was exceeded.

The law does not give police the discretion with regard to impoundment for excessive speeding:

Impoundment of motor vehicle

251 (1) If a peace officer has reasonable grounds to believe that a person

(d) has committed an offence under section 148,the peace officer or another peace officer must

(g) cause the motor vehicle to be taken to and impounded at a place directed by the peace officer, and

(h) if paragraph (c) of this subsection applies, serve on the person a notice of driving prohibition in the form established by the superintendent.

(8) If the person who was driving or operating a motor vehicle at the time the motor vehicle was impounded under subsection (1) or section 215.46 is not the owner of the motor vehicle, the person must make all reasonable efforts to notify as soon as practicable the owner that the motor vehicle has been impounded.

Finally, you have the right to recover expenses from the driver:

Owner's right against driver

265 The owner of a motor vehicle impounded under section 215.46 or 251 (1) may recover from the person who was the driver or operator at the time the motor vehicle was impounded, as a debt in any court of competent jurisdiction, the fees, costs, charges, surcharges and deposit, if applicable, under section 255 (2) that the owner has paid with respect to the impoundment.

So, your girlfriend is the first person to turn to for the situation that you now find yourself in. Next, you may have a bone to pick with the government that passed the legislation, but unless you intend to take legal action against your girlfriend or wish to dispute the circumstances of the impoundment itself, the lawyer would likely only be useful in the civil matter of the former or guiding you in the application to the Superintendent to dispute the impoundment.

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