Our previous blog post discussed some of the more uncommon or strange sections of Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act (HTA). However, that article was far from exhaustive in exploring a piece of law that has been around since 1923 and has seen multiple amendments to deal with a society that is constantly evolving with new ideas and technologies. if you didn’t get enough in our first article and are curious for more, then read on!
SOLICITING BUSINESS PROHIBITED
The Highway Traffic Act predominantly covers the activity of motorized vehicles on Ontario’s roadways. However, it also includes multiple sections dealing with the behaviour of pedestrians on roadways as well. HTA section 177(2) deals with the following interesting situation:
“(2) No person, while on the roadway, shall stop, attempt to stop or approach a motor vehicle for the purpose of offering, selling or providing any commodity or service to the driver or any other person in the motor vehicle. 1999, c. 8, s. 7 (1).”
Whether a vehicle is stopped or you attempt to stop a vehicle, it is illegal to approach a vehicle to offer, sell, or provide a commodity or service. This could certainly be issued against people approaching cars at intersections to clean (aka. ‘squeegee’) their windshields. For the handful of spare change that could be received for cleaning a car window, the potential $65.00 total-payable fine could certainly make window cleaning at intersections an unprofitable business decision.
SCHOOL CROSSING GUARDS AND THEIR STOP SIGNS
School crossing guards are a part of community safety. They help make sure that our children can safely cross the roadways on their way to and from school. HTA section 176(2) specifically details how school crossing guards should lawfully perform their duties:
“(2) A school crossing guard about to direct persons across a highway with a speed limit not in excess of 60 kilometres per hour shall, prior to entering the roadway, display a school crossing stop sign in an upright position so that it is visible to vehicles approaching from each direction and shall continue to so display the school crossing stop sign until all persons, including the school crossing guard, have cleared the roadway. 2005, c. 26, Sched. A, s. 29 (1).”
That’s pretty straight forward. What darker, more sinister elements could the Highway Traffic Act possibly be concerned about? Well, two issues!
First, HTA section 176(4) doesn’t allow school crossing guards to use their stop sign under any other conditions other than those outlined in the previous section:
“(4) A school crossing guard shall not display on a highway a school crossing stop sign under any circumstances other than those set out in subsection (2). R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 176 (4).”
Using the school crossing stop sign in any other situation other than the one specifically defined by the HTA could result in being charged by the police and being faced with a total-payable fine of $110.00.
Secondly, HTA section 176(5) prohibits anyone other than a school crossing guard from displaying a school crossing stop sign in any circumstance on a roadway:
“(5) No person other than a school crossing guard shall display on a highway a school crossing stop sign. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 176 (5).”
Feeling like you want to go out and help people across the road while using a school crossing stop sign? Leave this one to the school crossing guards. Doing otherwise can result in being charged by the police and being hit with a $110.00 total-payable fine.
UNAUTHORIZED USE OF SIGN
Not only are school crossing guards and school crossing stop signs regulated under the Highway Traffic Act, so too are the more general traffic-control stop or slow signs under section 146.1(5):
“(5) No person other than a traffic control person, a firefighter or an over-dimensional vehicle escort appointed under section 110.5 shall display on a highway a traffic control stop or slow sign. 2017, c. 2, Sched. 17, s. 11 (2).”
Trying to direct traffic unless you meet the criteria of a person authorized to do so under HTA s.110.5 could result in being charged by the police and facing a $110.00 total-payable fine.
USE OF PASSING BEAM
Section 168 of the HTA is fairly commonsense, although it is certainly interesting to take a look at for its two subsections:
“168 When on a highway at any time when lighted lamps are required to be displayed on vehicles, the driver of a motor vehicle equipped with multiple beam headlamps shall use the lower or passing beam when,
(a) approaching an oncoming vehicle within 150 metres; or
(b) following another vehicle within 60 metres, except when in the act of overtaking and passing. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 168.”
Most people have experienced driving at night time only to be blinded by the high-beam headlights of another vehicle. Common courtesy and sense tells us to lower those high-beam headlights when approaching a car from ahead or behind, Fortunately, the HTA defines the obligations of drivers in these two situations. If you are approaching traffic from the opposite direction, your high beams need to be lowered within 150 meters of meeting the other vehicle. If you are approaching a vehicle from behind, then the high beams need to be lowered within 60 meters distance unless you are in the act of overtaking or passing. Failing to do so can result in the police issuing a charge carrying 2 demerit points and a total-payable fine of $110.00 (or $150.00 if you’re in a community safety zone).
INTERFERE WITH SNOW REMOVAL
Canadian winters can come with heavy snowfalls that can cause all manner of problems for people trying to drive on our roadways. Snow removal crews work to keep our roads clear of snow and safe to drive on. Leaving your vehicle in a position that interferes with the work of snow removal crews can get you into trouble under HTA section 170(12):
“(12) Despite the other provisions of this section, no person shall park or stand a vehicle on a highway in such a manner as to interfere with the movement of traffic or the clearing of snow from the highway. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 170 (12).”
Interfering with the work of snow removal workers can result in being charged by the police and facing a total-payable fine of $65.00. While no one likes the prospect of a record of conviction or having to pay a fine, these charges come with another potential problem under HTA section 170(15):
“(15) A police officer, police cadet, municipal law enforcement officer or an officer appointed for carrying out the provisions of this Act, upon discovery of any vehicle parked or standing in contravention of subsection (12), of a regulation made under subsection 26 (3) of the Public Transportation and Highway Improvement Act or of a municipal by-law, may cause it to be moved or taken to and placed or stored in a suitable place and all costs and charges for the removal, care and storage of the vehicle, if any, are a lien upon the vehicle, which may be enforced in the manner provided by the Repair and Storage Liens Act. 2005, c. 26, Sched. A, s. 28 (2).”
If your vehicle is towed and stored, there are two immediate consequences. The first is the inconvenience of not having your vehicle until you can locate it and have it released to you. The second problem is that you may be facing several hundred dollars in towing and impounding fees. That makes for a very expensive mistake for parking your vehicle in the wrong place at the wrong time!
IF YOU GET CHARGED
Often times our office is contacted by people that do not understand the penalties that they are facing or their available legal options in protecting themselves from court penalties, licence suspensions, imprisonment, or insurance problems. It is also not uncommon for a defendant to be provided incorrect information by the Police Officer that issued the charge against them. If you receive a ticket or summons from the police, it is important to immediately seek out the information that you will need to know in protecting your various interests. OTD Ticket Defenders Legal Services is happy to assist you with a no-cost, no-obligation initial consultation. Our friendly staff can be reached via our toll-free number 1-844-647-6869, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by text at 226-240-2480.