Intersection related charges are one of the more common tickets that get issued in Ontario. Perhaps you made a “rolling stop” instead of a full stop at a stop sign? Perhaps you had to make a quick judgement call on whether or not you had time to stop for a red or amber light? Maybe you got in a collision and now fingers are being pointed for blame and liability? Let’s take a look at these two types of charges…
DISOBEY STOP SIGN
Alternately you might see this worded as “Stop Sign – Fail To Stop.” Stop sign charges fall under section 136(1)(a) of the Highway Traffic Act:
“Stop at through highway
136 (1) Every driver or street car operator approaching a stop sign at an intersection,
(a) shall stop his or her vehicle or street car at a marked stop line or, if none, then immediately before entering the nearest crosswalk or, if none, then immediately before entering the intersection;”
The requirement here is fairly straight forward. Drivers must stop at the painted line on the road (often referred to as a ‘stop bar’). If no stop bar is present, drivers must stop immediately before entering the crosswalk. If no crosswalk is present, then they must stop immediately before entering the intersection.
A conviction for disobeying a stop sign will result in a record of conviction being entered into your driving history by the Ministry of Transportation. Along with that record conviction would be a 3 demerit point penalty. For commercial motor vehicle drivers, this would also result in a 3 CVOR point penalty.
AMBER LIGHT – FAIL TO STOP
Amber Light – Fail To Stop falls under Highway Traffic Act section 144(15):
(15) Every driver approaching a traffic control signal showing a circular amber indication and facing the indication shall stop his or her vehicle if he or she can do so safely, otherwise he or she may proceed with caution. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 144 (15).”
When safe to do so, drivers are required to stop for an amber light. If convicted, HTA s.144(15) will result in a record of conviction for your driving history that carries 3 demerit points. Commercial motor vehicle drivers will also incur a 3 CVOR point penalty similar to a stop sign offence.
RED LIGHT – FAIL TO STOP
Red light offences fall under HTA section 144(18):
(18) Every driver approaching a traffic control signal showing a circular red indication and facing the indication shall stop his or her vehicle and shall not proceed until a green indication is shown. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 144 (18).”
Similar to amber light offences, a conviction for failing to stop for a red light will result in a 3 demerit point penalty. However, unlike the previous two offences, red light charges carry a very large 5 CVOR point penalty for commercial motor vehicle drivers.
The Highway Traffic act does provide a few exceptions to obeying red lights under subsections (19) and (20):
“Exception – turn
(19) Despite subsection (18) and subject to subsection (14), a driver, after stopping his or her vehicle and yielding the right of way to traffic lawfully approaching so closely that to proceed would constitute an immediate hazard, may,
(a) turn to the right; or
(b) turn to the left from a one-way street into a one-way street,
without a green indication being shown. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 144 (19).
Exception – white vertical bar indication
(19.1) Despite subsection (18), a driver operating a bus or street car on a scheduled transit authority route approaching a traffic control signal showing a white vertical bar indication may, with caution, proceed forward or turn right or left. 1994, c. 27, s. 138 (13).
Exception – emergency vehicle
(20) Despite subsection (18), a driver of an emergency vehicle, after stopping the vehicle, may proceed without a green indication being shown if it is safe to do so. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 144 (20).”
The first exemption still requires a complete stop of the vehicle before turning. The remaining two exemptions apply only to bus / street car or emergency vehicles respectively only.
If you have been charged by the police for one of these offences, the main concerns will generally be a fine owing to the court, a record of conviction for your driver’s licence, demerit points, and the impact to your insurance rate. Commercial motor vehicle driver’s have to also be careful about CVOR point penalties and the impact to their current employment or ability to obtain new employment.
PROTECTING YOUR INTERESTS
Protecting your interests at court is one of your most basic, fundamental rights. If a matter is allowed to simply go to a conviction, your legal avenues to address the conviction become greatly reduced after the fact. The time to contest a ticket or summons from the police is immediately after it has been issued against you.
The first step in deciding how to proceed is to gather the information that you will need to make informed decisions. OTD Legal Services provides a no cost, no obligation initial consultation. If you have been charged by the police and would like more information, our friendly staff will be happy to assist you by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via our toll-free number 1-844-647-6869.