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June 20, 2009

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David White

Too bad he didn't ask you about Electronic Stability Control or why his cruiser does not have it!

Mike T.

Jim, I'll bet you kept driving up & down that piece of road, flashing your lights, just dying to get pulled over! Come on, admit it! The cops would be saying, "George, here comes that silly sod again; might as well get it over with and pull him over so he can gloat!" But - congrats to both of you for a well-handled situation.

Sean McConnell

Our youngest daughter is turning 16 in September and is becoming quite inquisitive about things she see's while we're out on the open road.

A couple months ago, she asked why that oncoming car was flashing its headlights at us. I explained that there's three possible reasons. 1) If it's night (or poor visibility), you either forgot to turn on your headlights or your high-beams are on, 2) they've spotted a mechanical problem with your car (i.e. nearly flat tire, smoking engine ), and 3) there's a speed-trap ahead.

I explained that it will, most likely, be 3) so check your speed. And be sure to give a casual wave to acknowledge you appreciate his thoughtful display of motoring etiquette.

So now she knows why I'm always toggling the light switch after we pass a speed trap. I encouraged her to do the same when she gets her license and not to worry if she gets charged for it ;) That'll be a good one to teach her how to defend herself in court.

Funny: I had a cruiser following behind me for many kilometers some time ago. I practically wore out me light switch warning on-coming traffic, LOL. He must have thought, "MAN, people on this road sure do drive slow!!"

Fred Frith

Despite what Mike Harris,(possibly the worst premier ever) said about photo-radar, it worked.

Almost immediately after it was brought out you noticed a major change in the speed of the traffic.

Brian Williams

Here in Newfoundland, we flash our headlights when we are aware of a moose on the road, so that oncoming drivers will have more time to slow down or stop.
We have to do this a lot...

R Eader

Cops will try to get away with anything that will help them to write more tickets and earn more brownie points with their bosses, and of course meet their allegedly non-existent ticket quotas. They do exist, whether official or not.

He didn't stop you to try to "educate" you. He stopped you because he thought he could fool you into taking a ticket and helping to win a toaster this month for writing the most tickets.

Steph

Hurray for the officer. He's correct in that there should be more communication between the driving public and the Police. But, way too many officers don't use common sense when pulling people over and simply want to reach a ticket quota.

When a Police officer pulls somebody over they should asses the risk the driver is to the public at large. Does that person contribute to society? Is that person a threat to driving public? Does the driver have a record? If not then a conversation should take place, nothing more.

Bad Cops who hand out redundant tickets do more to divide the police from Joe Public who do nothing more then pay their bills, stay out of trouble and contribute to society.

Too many Police forget that for the most part Joe Public is not the problem, he's the solution.

Kyle

That never would have happened to me! They would have slapped me with obstructing justice, no questions asked, and I would have had to take a day off work to go to court to fight it. Although if the flow of traffic was any faster than 65km/h I am certain that the cop doing radar would have singled my WRX out of the crowd and I wouldn't have had a chance to warn people in the first place!

wingold

I hate those highways that are designated as 60 yet have no developed areas around them. I usually set my cruise to 75.
Check out the north end of hwy 427 past the hwy 7 exit. The limit drops from 100 to 80 then to 60. I slow down to 80 when the 60 sign comes but most traffic is doing at least 90 - 100+ even in the 60 zone! I know because they blow right past me. A few hundred meters after the 60 sign there are rumble strips and it is only here that people slow down. The cops could have a field day by issuing 'street racing' infractions before that 60 sign and the rumble strips. Check it out at any time of day or night. I think you'll find more 'racing' going on here than at Mosport!

Jim

Hi Fred:

You may THINK you noticed a reduction in speed on the highways after photo radar, but to my knowledge, no data was ever produced to prove that that was in fact the case.

And the crash and fatality statistics showed no improvement whatsoever. Believe it or not, according to the OPP's own numbers, in the district where photo radar was most used in the GTA traffic fatalities actually went UP by some 200 percent during the so-called trial period.

Not that I ever tried to link the increase to the application of photo radar. It just re-proved the point that has been proven time and again - no amount of speed limit enforcement that we could begin to afford or accept will ever have a material long-lasting effect on road safety.

There simply is no logical or statistical linkage.

Jim Kenzie

Chris S

What's the matter Jim?
You'll post any comment that bashes cops, but where is the comment I made about the pedophile and the b&e artist thanking you for the headlight flashing?
Oh well...guess since its your blog you can always make your opinion made with no counter...makes you seem smarter than the rest of us.
About the 200 percent increase in fatals during the trial period...what about the time frame outside the trial and what was the original number of fatals. If it were zero and during that period it was 2, I guess it was 200%. Nice thing about stats eh, you can make them say anything you want.

Jim Kenzie

I didn't publish your comment because it was tasteless, disgusting and completely beside the point.

If you've got a relevant point to make, let's hear it.

I'm a big supporter of the job the police do. They just can't go around charging people with things that are not illegal, like warning people of radar traps.

As for the fatal statistics during the photo radar trial period, I said you couldn't draw definitive conclusions from those numbers. (I don't remember what the exact numbers were, but they were much bigger than 2 and zero). But neither could you even begin to conclude that photo radar had any positive effect whatsoever from those numbers. That was the point of the trial period - to find out. Harris at least had the guts to can the program when it did not prove effective. Never mind that it may have been the only good thing he did.

Jim Kenzie

Brian

Sorry for the long link, but here's another case of someone in Maryland getting a ticket for flashing their headlights. In this case, though he was flashing back to thank the other drive for warning him.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/16/AR2009061603186.html

Jim

Hi Brian:

I am not familiar with Maryland's Highway Traffic Act, but I bet it is similar to Ontario's, wherein flashing headlights to warn others of a radar trap is indisputably NOT illegal.

Well, maybe 'indisputable' is too strong a word. My Dad was a lawyer, and he used to say that in a court room, the sun only rises in the east if the judge says so.

But it looks as if the Americans are on safe ground too.

BTW, the link worked perfectly.

Phil

Hi Jim;
I was recently charged with;failure to use lower beam oncoming contrarary to hwy tfc act sct 168
I don't understand this at all and I remembered your article and will plead not guilty.

But I really don't even understand what this charge is for!?
(yes I flashed 'em)
any insight on how to beat this one?
thanks
Phil

Jim Kenzie

Hi Phil:

Those jerks! They don't have enough real laws being broken that they have to go invent stuff???

As I have said many times before, warning people of radar traps is patently NOT illegal; that's why the cops have to invent nonsense like this to keep their little scam going.

FIGHT IT!!! If it's like our case, as soon as you fight it they withdraw the charge because they don't want to set a legal precedent.

Where's the Chief of Police when you need him? Bill Blair, COME ON!!

In this case, here's 168 in its entirety:

*****
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.
*****


Since 'lighted lamps' are only required by the HTA between one-half hour before sunset and one-half hour after sunrise (see HTA, Section 62) this clearly does NOT apply - assuming it was daytime when you did this.

If otherwise, ask the cop how he knows exactly how many metres were between you and the car you supposedly 'dazzled' with your high beams (which is what this law is all about; it's got NOTHING AT ALL TO DO with radar traps).

Then ask him how he knows you were NOT in fact in the 'act of overtaking and passing' in which case this sub-section also does NOT apply.

Then ask him how he knows you used your high beams and didn't just flick your low beams off and on; 'off' would then be your Daytime Running Lights. Now, DRL usually use the high beams, but only at reduced intensity and are designed NOT to be bright enough to violate 168. Otherwise EVERY car on the road would be violating 168 because all cars sold in Canada since 1990 MUST have DRL.

Then ask him to go out and catch people BREAKING THE LAW...

Let me know how it turns out!

Cheers,

Jim

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