Opinion: Justice beside the road

There’s a cool video on the Internet now from Damon Fryer at the Daily Driven Exotics channel. You can see it here on YouTube (start at 6 minutes in), or without all the preamble here on Facebook.

In the video, Fryer gets pulled over for speeding by a Vancouver police officer and his Nissan R34 GT-R is impounded. Fryer maintains he was just driving at the speed of other traffic, but the cop charges him with excessive speed, which in British Columbia is anything faster than 40 km/h over the speed limit.

The details of the charge, or whether he’s innocent or guilty, really don’t matter here. Fryer will get his day in court and he can argue his case then. What matters is that whatever happens, the car was towed away and impounded, and Fryer was left without a vehicle for a week and an invoice for almost $500.

That’s the law in British Columbia and several other provinces, and now, as of Canada Day, Ontario has stiffened its own penalties for excessive speeding. It’s doubled the length of the roadside impoundment to 14 days, and more than quadrupled the roadside licence suspension to 30 days. Yes, this is a car video, but these new rules will no doubt have a severe impact on motorcyclists and their insurance rates.

I wrote about this back in April and argued that such power in the hands of police beside the road is unreasonable – by all means, throw the book at speeders in court after a fair hearing, but do not allow such harsh punishment to be meted out beside the road by a single officer at his or her sole discretion. It is excessive, and it is an abuse of legislative power.

Now this DDE video helps prove my case. The police officer is clearly rattled by being filmed, and who knows what was included and what was removed from the final cut, but Fryer insists he was never told what speed he was being charged with driving, or given any details of how he was caught. The cop pulls him over, tells him his car is about to be taken from him, and literally throws his ticket at him through the window. Fryer is very polite and asks the officer for information about the radar gun he used, but he’s only told “you can request it by the proper method.” Which is from the court, while his car is impounded.

Cops are only human and they perform a difficult job. I respect and appreciate most of them for what they do and how they represent themselves. Once, I was pulled over for speeding and the officer was so polite and professional when he gave me a well-deserved ticket that I wrote to his chief to commend him. Another time, the cop used his discretion to give me a huge break that was far more constructive than any penalty.

However, I’ve also been pulled over by cops who are obviously having a bad day and who used their discretion quite differently. Once, I was charged with speeding when I know I was not speeding, but it was my word against the digits on the radar gun (presumably another vehicle) and I had no way to prove my innocence; I paid the ticket and put it down to karma. Another time, I was charged with two separate speeding offences when I rode my motorcycle from a 60 km/h limit into a 50 km/h limit. Again, I know I was not speeding at the time.

One of the best of them was when I was hauled over on Hwy. 401 by a police officer who wanted to know why the licence plate on my press fleet Kawasaki was blue, and who told me to sit down beside the highway and be quiet and wait a long time while he checked my lack of paperwork – he ended up giving me a lights-flashing escort to my appointment with his Commissioner.

The point is, I’m old enough now that while I respect the police as a force, an individual officer has to earn my respect for the job that he or she performs, because I’ve seen so many who don’t deserve it. It’s the same for doctors and teachers. Just a couple of bad apples can ruin the entire profession.

Now, in Ontario, such exchanges beside the road between police and drivers and riders will only become more heated. More suspected offenders will run from police, who they know to have even greater power to change their lives whether they’re guilty or not.

So place yourself in that YouTube video. Imagine that you weren’t actually speeding, or at least, travelling no faster than 85 per cent of the rest of the traffic. Imagine the pickup truck in the lane beside you was guilty of the excessive speed, but the police officer thought it was you. Now imagine that you’re in Toronto and not Vancouver, and that cop just pulled you over and took away your motorcycle for a month and your licence for two weeks, and it’s all his word against yours.

You’ll have your day in court and justice may or may not prevail, but one thing’s for sure: your bike’s gone, your licence is gone, and you’re on the hook for thousands of dollars, all because a police officer made a mistake, or simply because he was having a bad day. That doesn’t sound like justice to me.


  1. One gripe I have with the BC system is that the impound and tow fee is paid directly to the tow truck company. Even if you win in court good luck getting that back!

  2. Good article Mark, you’re 100% right. My question is simple – why do we have the most severe laws in N/A? C’mon – 40 & over and you’re a criminal? How many country roads dip down to 50 because some sock & sandal wearing yahoo pestered their counsellor to lower it, rather than any real danger?

    And Captain Stabbin, your answer is to drive a frigg’n Buick LaCrosse? Dumbest thing I’ve read today.

    • Rui, maybe you should try a Buick LaCrosse. That is not a solution and that is not what I said. I also agree with Mark and we don’t need Judge Dredd pulling us over. The Buick was for that Damon Fryer guy but he would probably be ticketed for excessive speeding driving a LaCrosse. BTW, 6 minutes into that video I really have no sympathy for Mr. Fryer. That police officer did all he could to just do his job without being pulled into drama by this coconut. The officer probably ran the plate and then couldn’t figure out how Damon Fryer had a BC Driver’s license and a car registered in Alberta. Business. Yeah, his business is having a youtube channel. So basically no job skills. And not employable. Damon is the guy from high school that lost his job at McDonald’s and the Bowling Alley all the same night. Probably owes money all of town at stupid speed or car audio businesses. That cop did his job to the letter of the law. The system works.

  3. I hate to say it, but I suspect the only real defence against being falsely accused of speeding is to have always-on GPS logging that you can submit to the court as evidence. It doesn’t protect from impounds, but it might slow down the guys who dish out a ticket just because they don’t like the look of you.

  4. I never get pulled over. Car or motorcycle (or my scooter) and I live in the GTA. Been riding every season since 1989 and I never was pulled over in my car for speeding but I have had two speeding tickets and both on Motorcycles (70 km/h in a 40 km/h speed trap once in 1990 and again in 2003).

    What to know my secret? I obey the traffic laws and speed limit within reason. Technically you could get a speeding ticket for going 101 km/h in a 100 zone. That is the law.

    That guy in the video stands out. Damon Fryer and that blue Nissan RHD JDM grey market import. If you look like a duck…

    How old is this guy? Lose the hoodie and baseball cap. If you think life is what you see in the Fast & Furious Franchise and you think you are Dominic Toretto, well they will catch you, ticket and fine you, and now they will impound your car.

    Damon goes onto say that it was an 80 zone and that to me means people were doing just over 100 which means Damon stood out doing over 120+ km/h and got pulled over, ticketed, fine, stupid car impounded, etc… Probably weaving in and out of traffic annoying everyone and was spotted by another constable way down the road.

    Wow, the system works.

    1st world problem. Maybe Damon should drive a Buick LaCrosse and find another hobby to occupy his time. Join a bowling league. Damon so incensed by it all and his buddy in the 911 Turbo almost gets pulled over later in the video. Priceless. There was a case in the Toronto area last week on Hwy 10 where a car was pulled over twice Sunday morning within 20 minutes getting a speeding ticket both times. I feel for the police who are tasked with dealing with these clowns. Coconuts.

    • You’re a clown, copboy. You say you never get pulled over then immediately go on to tell about being twice pulled over. You are an idiot and not a man. So, STFU and go away, idiot.

      • I got pulled over. Twice in 32 years and both times on my motorcycle. I stated that. I also drove trucks in the past. No accidents but before you jump all over me, I did fall off twice on the road on both m/c and scooter but I wear gear so I was OK. I am also not a police officer. I support the police especially during these times and the next one that pulls you over I hope they impound your vehicle whatever that is. Got it tough guy? Grow up. Life is short. You child.

  5. Apparently most people in this province are paying no attention and have no problem with giving the police unrestricted power to suspend licenses and impound vehicles at the roadside without any actual conviction. I know the courts have said this is permissible, because these are “administrative” penalties. F#$#ing lawyers – it might be “legal”, but that doesn’t make it right.

    • Most people don’t have a problem because the majority of people drive within reason. Police are doing this as a deterrent but as witnessed by “Not a Wanker like Captain Tosser” there are a lot of grown ups out there who are still dysfunctional children and get all excited over topics like this.

      I would agree with you that it is extreme and I feel unnecessary and we don’t need to end up having “Judge Dredd” pull us over and be officer, judge, jury and executioner but it’s attitudes from “Tough Guys” like “Not a Wanker like Captain Tosser” that have brought us here to this point. This individual is a shining example of this case ion point. Or that Damon Fryer guy whose youtube channel has a few videos of him getting tickets and cars impounded. Again, grow up Damon.

      Again, not many worried or even aware because they are not at war with law enforcement, they obey laws and traffic laws (within reason), and they are not pretending to be Dominic Toretto when behind the wheel driving to work or going shopping.

  6. Bad apples in the police department are nothing new. I lived in Toronto in the ’80’s and I got pulled over time after time for being on a motorcycle. For spot checks in the spring, for speeding when I was going the speed of the traffic, for improper passing. Police seem to have a thing for motorcyclists, so watch out.

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