Traffic tickets are the bane of motorcyclists. Get a little enthusiastic with your throttle, and the police/courts clean out your wallet first, and then the insurance company takes what’s left for the next five years. That’s why this petition is important.
As many Ontario riders already know, there have been several changes to the Highway Traffic Act this year. This petition addresses one of those changes; apparently, it seems the government wants to remove your automatic right to challenge tickets in court.
A revision to the Act states that motorists will have “no right to be heard before an order imposing an administrative penalty is made.” That not only means trouble for anyone wanting to fight tickets, it also means the very underpinnings of our legal system are being challenged. Here’s what the petition’s authors have to say:
“Under the Administrative Penalty system being considered by the Ontario Liberal government, you would automatically be deemed guilty at the side of the road in the case of a Highway Traffic Act allegation. The officer’s version would be taken as correct and only the amount of monetary penalty can be disputed. Demerit points, insurance increases and license suspensions would remain in effect.
The impact on citizens would remain identical to the current system, except the rights to be presumed innocent and to challenge the allegation(s) would be removed.
An ‘independent hearings officer’, appointed and compensated by the same municipality collecting the fine, would determine if there is sufficient basis for a reduction in the monetary amount owing. Guilt or innocence would not be under consideration.”
Sounds like bad business to us. You can find out more about the petition and sign it here. And if you get a ticket you can’t fight in court, don’t forget to thank all your neighbours who voted for Kathleen Wynn and Co.