Thursday, December 2, 2010

New 7 Day Impoundment Legislation

On December 1st, 2010 new Highway Traffic Act Offences were implemented that have to do with the impoundment of motor vehicles for various offences.  The new sections come under the umbrella of the Road Safety Act, 2009 (Bill 126) and are administrative suspensions.

The sections allow for vehiclesto be impounded for 7 days when the people driving them have committed the following offences:

1.) A driver who's licence has been suspended for any reason, including default of family support (with the exception of unpaid fines or medical reasons) is caught driving. Section 55.2 HTA

2.) A driver who is required to have an ignition interlock device and are found driving without one. Section 41.4 HTA
3.) A driver caught with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over 0.08 or who fails/refuses to comply with a demand made by a police officer under section 254 of the Criminal Code of Canada.  Section 48.4 HTA

OK, so that is the legal stuff. Here is what it all really means and what is important for you to remember.

All these offences identify high risk road users.  Those people who have a disregard for the rules of the road and the safety of all of us.

Drivers receive suspension for several reasons.  Most commonly for breaking the rules of the road to such a degree that the punishment handed down by the courts is a suspension.  Some offences come with mandatory suspensions and you can bet that those are the offences that are high risk behaviours that compromise the safety of everyone.  (Impaired driving, stunt driving, multiple demerit point accumulations, etc) = High risk road user.

For a driver to be required to have an ignition interlock device, they have had to have broken the law in terms of drinking and driving.  Part of their conviction is the order that they must have the device installed on any vehicle they drive.  It is a requirement on their licence. = High risk road user.

Anyone charged with over 80 or refusing / failing to comply with the demand, naturally =  High risk road users.

Like I said...the vast majority of us never have to worry about these things.  It is only those drivers who have been self identified as high risk road users.  Self identified? Yes, they are the ones in control of their behaviours and their actions on our roads.

They are the ones who have completely missed section 31 of the Highway Traffic Act:
Driving a privilege
The purpose of this Part is to protect the public by ensuring that,
(a) the privilege of driving on a highway is granted to, and retained by, only those persons who demonstrate that they are likely to drive safely; and
(b) full driving privileges are granted to novice and probationary drivers only after they acquire experience and develop or improve safe driving skills in controlled conditions.  1993, c. 40, s. 1.
No one has the right to drive.  It is a privilege and one that if you don't comply with or abide by the rules and regulations, that privilege is taken away from you.

Back to the impoundments...

The legislation doesn't say the vehicle of the says the vehicle that is being used by the driver. 

So parents...are you willing to part with your car for seven days because of the behaviour choices of your children?  This is something that you really need to discuss with them so that they understand the importance of good choices.

Friends...are you willing to lose your car for seven days because you loaned it to a friend?  Make sure they have a licence, they aren't required to have an ignition interlock device and they aren't going to be drinking.

These are just a few of things that you have to consider.  Also, the bill for the towing and impoundment doesn't go in the name of the's in the name of the registered owner of the vehicle.  

Hope this help to educate a few people. 

Remember, RIDE is out there all this month.


  1. Unfortunately this amendment will do more to punish innocent vehicle owners than it will to curb the behaviors in question. Police already have the ability to arrest the offenders, there is absolutely no need to extend extraordinary powers of seizure. This becomes a very slippery slope.

  2. I don't see how this punishes innocent vehicle owners more than curb behaviours. There will be some vehcile owners that get caught up in this, but then it returns to them the question, "Do you really know who is using your car."
    The fact that people continue to drive while under suspension, without interlock devices and after drinking shows that there is absolutely a need for this to help curb those acts and change behaviour.

  3. When I was 12 my parents were stopped at a red light, a drunk driver ran the red, jumped the meridian and hit their car head on.
    He had a suspended license, no insurance and he'd been stopped numerous times with just tickets and fines.
    Luckily my parents were fine but if these laws had been in place then the guy who'd loaned the drunk driver his truck might have thought twice.

  4. I can see how this can be viewed as a good thing from the position of front line officers, but it only addresses the symptom, not the problem, which is a judicial system that is far too lenient with repeat offenders. There is no place for extraordinary rights of seizure by the police in a democratic society. We need to fix the problem not put a band-aid on the symptom.

    By the way I do applaud all the great work done by our front line police officers, often with less than ample support from our judicial system.

  5. BTW, I do enjoy your tweets...keep up the great work...Lloyd @SoOutdoors

  6. Thanks for the comments everyone. Great points and views. The feedback is truly appreciated!

  7. I don't know what #3 entails, but judging from the severity of #1&2...

    This isn't for first-timers. These methods are reserved for the incorrigible, the willful, the dangerous. People who have a problem and have been alerted to it in a court of law. More than once.

    It's disturbing that there are enough drivers out there with a bloated sense of entitlement that such reactions become necessary.

    Winter's a rough time to become an urban cyclist.

  8. These changes are a great thing and another step to making our roads safer. When my sister was 5 years old she was struck and seriously injured by an impaired driver. He was not driving his own car. Someone let him drive their car. I think both the driver and the owner of the car have some responsibility for what happened that night. They both walked away to drive another day but my sister has been in a wheelchair for more than 30 years.

    I applaud the changes, look forward to more in the future and hope that everyone remembers if you drink, don't drive

  9. This new legislation does allow for an owner to go after the driver civilly for the costs of the impoundment.