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Author Topic: To Flash or Not to Flash
rural - Francesca
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posted 28 January 2008 06:48 AM      Profile for rural - Francesca   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
To Flash or Not to Flash

Apparently flashing your high beams to warn of a speed trap is a no-no, but not an illegal no-no.

quote:
But no, stationed at the west end of the bridge were a couple more cruisers, pulling people like Diamond over for warning people about the radar trap.

$110 and no points.

I checked the Highway Traffic Act (HTA). I could find no reference to radar speed traps at all, let alone anything about it being illegal to warn other drivers about them. After all, traffic reporters and some websites even announce their locations.

The ticket said the offence was "flashing head beams" in contravention of the HTA, section 169

[snip]

The prosecutor called Diamond to the bench, asked his name, read the charge, and asked how he pleaded.

"Not guilty, your worship,"' he responded.

Then the prosecutor said, "The police officer has no evidence in this case, your worship."'

"Case dismissed,"' said the justice of the peace.

WHAT? The police officer has "no evidence"? If he had no evidence, why the heck did he lay the charge in the first place?



From: the backyard | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged
adam stratton
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posted 28 January 2008 06:58 AM      Profile for adam stratton        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It is obvious the police officer did not do his/her homework and the prosecutor did not review the case prior to the hearing. It is obstruction of justice, under the Criminal Code and not anything under the HWT Act.

[ 28 January 2008: Message edited by: adam stratton ]


From: Eastern Ontario | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged
Sandy47
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posted 28 January 2008 07:00 AM      Profile for Sandy47     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Isn't that whole "the police officer has no evidence" thing a metaphoric, legal speak way of saying the cop in the case couldn't be bothered/was too sick to appear in traffic court that day, or had a more important court appearance elsewhere?

As for warning oncoming traffic about a speed trap, it probably doesn't happen often - unless the cops are specifically looking for offenders, but people have been getting warned about it forever. In my far too long history of driving I've known one person it's happened to who was charged. The statute dealing with it has to be on the books somewhere.

Perverting the course of justice maybe? Obstructing police?


(edited to add - there we are, Adam slipped in ahead of me.)

[ 28 January 2008: Message edited by: Sandy47 ]


From: Southwest of Niagara - 43.0° N 81.2° W | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 28 January 2008 07:08 AM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Warning people to obey the law (as for instance by driving within the speed limit) is never obstruction of justice.

Section 161 of the Highway Traffic Act says:

quote:
No person shall use highbeam headlamps that produce alternating flashes of white light on any vehicle other than [an emergency vehicle]
I doubt whether that section is intended to prohibit people from manually "testing" their headlight beams.

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
rural - Francesca
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posted 28 January 2008 07:14 AM      Profile for rural - Francesca   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
is it alternating left right, or alternating flash on flash off?
From: the backyard | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 28 January 2008 07:25 AM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
According to the article you posted it's flash on/flash off.
From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
rural - Francesca
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posted 28 January 2008 07:30 AM      Profile for rural - Francesca   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
yes, but the law you quoted referred to "alternating" without specifying.

Something brought up in the article as to "does a single flash of high beams constitute the same as the 'alternating left right' flash of emergency vehicles"???


From: the backyard | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 28 January 2008 07:36 AM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Sgt. Cam Woolley of the Ontario Provincial Police told me that this law was put in place a few years ago to prevent "civilian" vehicles from impersonating emergency vehicles, notably tow trucks trying to bully their way through traffic to be first on the scene of a wreck....

What's more, Diamond's Chevy Tahoe was not producing "alternating"' flashes of light. "Alternating" means one, then the other (just like police cars and other emergency vehicles can do), not both on/both off.


I guess I misread this. Jim Kenzie is saying the law forbids left-right alternating, whereas the ticket was given for both on/both off.

I'm not aware of any authoritative (i.e. court) interpretation of what s. 161 specifically prohibits.


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
adam stratton
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posted 28 January 2008 08:34 AM      Profile for adam stratton        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I'm not aware of any authoritative (i.e. court) interpretation of what s. 161 specifically prohibits. =M. Spector

I guess it prohibits impersonating emergency and (undercover) police vehicles.

[ 28 January 2008: Message edited by: adam stratton ]


From: Eastern Ontario | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged
thorin_bane
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posted 28 January 2008 01:59 PM      Profile for thorin_bane     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Simple solution..use fog lamps, as they are not high beams and have the same effect.
From: Looking at the despair of Detroit from across the river! | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Agent 204
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posted 28 January 2008 02:25 PM      Profile for Agent 204   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by rural - Francesca:
WHAT? The police officer has "no evidence"? If he had no evidence, why the heck did he lay the charge in the first place?


Simple- most people, when they get a ticket, simply pay up and slink off.

From: home of the Guess Who | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
Boarsbreath
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posted 28 January 2008 02:57 PM      Profile for Boarsbreath   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
What an unlikely, fascinating issue! I went this way and that, reading the posts, and now I'm convinced by the line that the helpful blinker is only advising others to obey the law.

If that's wrong, then so is telling high-school students not to smoke dope, 'cause it feels too good...


From: South Seas, ex Montreal | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
adam stratton
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posted 28 January 2008 03:41 PM      Profile for adam stratton        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Boarsbreath,

You may have had another understanding of the topic of discussion (which did drift by the way) is but my understanding of it is: Why was the case withdrawn by the prosecutor at the hearing.

Any guess?

[ 28 January 2008: Message edited by: adam stratton ]


From: Eastern Ontario | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
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posted 28 January 2008 04:47 PM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This happened many years ago, and laws change, but a friend of mine's mother got hauled into court on this very same charge.

She argued that the whole idea was to have people obey the speed limit, what difference was there if they did so because the police caught them, or they were warned?

The judge agreed with her.


In London, the police set up speed traps-- with a few exceptions-- not in a place where speeding is most dangerous, but in places where it's easiest to catch speeders. The intent is not highway safety, but getting a boner by messing with someone.

The last time I got a speeding ticket was well over ten years ago. I was on my way to work at six in the morning. The cop eventually pulled me over miles away from where he picked up on me. When he wrote the ticket, he mentioned I was speeding past one of London's high schools.

Fair enough. I deserved the ticket, paid the ticket.

But you know, for years, on my way home from work, at three in the afternoon in heavy traffic when the kids left school, I never saw a cop there giving out tickets or even monitoring traffic.

So much for safety.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
rural - Francesca
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posted 28 January 2008 05:52 PM      Profile for rural - Francesca   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Tommy_Paine:

The intent is not highway safety, but getting a boner by messing with someone.

Excuse me - but what do our female officers get - stiff nipples????

What a stupid comment

[ 28 January 2008: Message edited by: rural - Francesca ]


From: the backyard | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 28 January 2008 07:23 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by adam stratton:
You may have had another understanding of the topic of discussion (which did drift by the way) is but my understanding of it is: Why was the case withdrawn by the prosecutor at the hearing.
That was the topic? I wouldn't have guessed, based on the thread title and the fact that the withdrawal of the charge is not so much a topic for discussion as idle speculation.

It may be that the Crown had a different interpretation of section 161 than the cop who issued the ticket. It may be that the cop didn't show up at trial (which is a common occurrence).

Does it really matter?


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 29 January 2008 04:07 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Francesca, I see where you're coming from, and I suppose, "getting off" would have been a better term to use. On the other hand, getting off on power trips is very "macho" and certainly police culture that involves power trips are very macho. So maybe using terminology that is more "male" was deliberate. I don't know. I'll let Tommy speak for himself.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
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posted 29 January 2008 04:37 AM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Actually, it was my attempt to contrast the pretext of the higher notion of safety with the practical effect which speaks to a baser instinct.

I've seen and listened to officer Cam Woolley on various news broadcasts, and as a panel member in "Canada's Worst Driver". I think his head, and his heart are unquestionably in the right place.

But for many officers, as the flashing the high beams...hmm there's a segue to a joke there somewhere...case illustrates, safety takes a back seat to the baser emotion of the thrill some people get in "GOTCHA!".

As for my remarks, well, I guess you got me Francesca.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
rural - Francesca
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posted 29 January 2008 05:01 AM      Profile for rural - Francesca   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I've moved the "boner' discussion elsewhere

I work with a lot of local police, and we tend to have fun. But community policing is a little more fun than criminal investigative policing.

I have one community police officer who sits on my Elder Abuse committee and always wants to know "what have you gotten away with lately?"

I think the police are like any other organization, you get the good ones, the stupid ones, the power hungry ones and those just putting in time.

It's been 3 years since my last speeding ticket. I tried to tell him I'd just moved here and didn't know the roads yet, I did have the change of address pieces that went with my drivers licence, the cop just looked at me and said "ohh, shut up Francesca, nice try" - sh*t, he knew me. I'd lived in the area for over 12 years but had only just moved into the city that month.

[ 29 January 2008: Message edited by: rural - Francesca ]


From: the backyard | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged
Boarsbreath
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posted 29 January 2008 01:09 PM      Profile for Boarsbreath   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
How about this? Police officers are really motivated by keeping order -- not enforcing the law as such.

Now, of course in most contexts there is no difference; most criminal law is in some way about keeping order. But sometimes keeping order and enforcing the law are not the same. Dissing cops, helping speeders -- refusing to confess -- on these points police tend to go with order, not law.

Or so I suspect (but IAAL). Would you agree, based on more experience?


From: South Seas, ex Montreal | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 04 February 2008 07:53 AM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The Star has posted reader reaction to this story.
From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Fleabitn
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posted 04 February 2008 01:57 PM      Profile for Fleabitn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Another brick in the wall of the society of fear our corporate and political masters want to construct and uphold. Never forget the mounties slogan ( as it applies to all police forces) :"Maintain the Right."

Ask yourself what "right" really means.


From: between thought and action | Registered: Feb 2008  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 04 February 2008 04:26 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
"Keep right except to pass"?
From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged

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