April 2011 Social – Constable Hugh Smith Guest Speaker

By Mario Marrello

Our April Social was a great success.  There were about 60 people there to interact with Hugh Smith from the Toronto Police Services.  Hugh decided that the best approach with audience was a question and answer session, rather than a pre-arranged speech on traffic safety in Toronto.

This turned out to be a great idea as Hugh would have gone all evening.  There were many questions and much discussion around many different topics affecting drivers and driving.  Here are some examples:

1.    Traffic deaths are on the decrease for drivers and passengers; however, there is an increase in pedestrian-vehicle collisions resulting in an increase in pedestrians being hurt or killed.  This is an incentive for drivers to pay more attention to their driving.
2.    More cyclists on the road means there is incentive to provide more bike lanes.  Cyclists are required to follow the rules of the road just like any vehicle.   Again, it’s important to pay attention while driving.
3.    If you are pulled over by a Police Officer,   ask why before handing over your license.  Don’t assume you are being pulled over for something you did and are getting a ticket.
4.    Always leave a copy of the registration in the car.  You don’t need the original with you.  In fact, it’s a best practice to keep the original in a safe spot and carry the copy.
5.    Always keep only the most recent and effective copy of the insurance pink slip in your wallet.  Never keep more than that as you may get a ticket for producing an out of date insurance slip, regardless if you also have the current one.
6.    Window Tinting.  The amount may be to the police officers discretion, so be sure to only use a reputable installer and make sure you are visible in the car from outside.
7.    Only pay flat fees on highways for towing.  All tow truck drivers on the highways are under contract to the MTO.
8.    None of the commercially available devices available to test for impaired driving are calibrated against what the police use.  Buyer beware.
9.    A Toronto police officer can write a ticket anywhere in Ontario.  They can write a provincial ticket and have jurisdiction.
10.    Front license plates, although all agree spoil a pretty face, are mandatory in Ontario.
11.    You can get a ticket if the electronic device you are using is a hand held device and it is in your hand.

All in all, a very interesting discussion.  Important point here is that although these are interesting points, they don’t pretend to be a legal reference and cannot cover all possible scenarios.  Be sure you are familiar with the law as it applies to your scenario before making any decisions regarding the above.

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