Recent Steering You Right articles

  • Lemons
  • A little bit of country
  • The societal consequences of an incident
  • By Jordan W. Charness

    One of the nice things about writing this column is receiving your feedback. I read all of your letters and they are received with interest. I do indeed use them as the basis for some of these columns. If you are so inclined you are welcome to stop me in the street in Montreal and say, “Hello”, and tell me your own legal traffic stories, as so many of you have already done.

    One of the most interesting letters I received was from an English teacher in a French College who suggested to her class that they read my articles and write a short composition. Here are some of their articles and my comments:

    “When I studied in college in Trois Rivieres, there were four handicapped parking spaces in front of the main door. Everybody knew that there was only one handicapped person in the college. So one evening I put the warning lights on and parked there for three minutes to see if my girlfriend was inside. When I came back, someone had prepared a 135 dollar ticket for me. If I had parked in the middle of the street, it would have cost less.”

    Even if you know that there is only one handicapped person attending the college it is still illegal to park in a handicapped zone. The spaces are reserved for people who are handicapped and have Government Issue handicap stickers properly displayed. Since these spots could also be used by handicapped visitors who need this type of space they must always be left free.

    You should note that some of these parking places are actually double sized so as to accommodate specially adapted vans and other vehicles that require extra large parking places. They are not always well marked and you should double check whenever you park near a spot reserved for those with disabilities.

    Another student writes, “I was stopped by a policeman on the highway in Ontario for speeding. I was taking my brother to his new apartment and I was tired and wanted to get home as fast as I could. A policeman came to me saying that I was going 132 km/h in a 100 km/h district. He took my license and went to his car. After 10 minutes he came back and told me I would receive my ticket by mail because I had a probationary license. I never received my ticket. The police officer was so impressive that I stopped speeding and have never had a ticket. He (the policeman) did his job with words rather than actually collecting money but it made me stop speeding.”

    It was lucky that this young gentleman was given a break. While the police officer would have been well within his rights to issue a ticket, it was possible that the ticket would have resulted in sufficient demerits so as to have the license suspended. Obviously the mere fear of this happening was sufficient to keep this driver on the straight and narrow.

    Another letter: “Some years ago, my family and I went to Florida during the holidays. We were travelling with a 27-foot recreational vehicle and we were looking for a parking space on a street along the beach. It was very difficult, but we finally found two spaces together. My father parked our RV in the two spaces because of its length. Then we spent about half an hour on the beach. My brother and I were in the water when a police car drove by and stopped. My father went to see what was going on and the police officer not only asked him to move the RV but also gave him a ticket for double parking!”

    I am not exactly sure what the law is in Florida when it comes to parking this type of vehicle. However because of their size many cities do restrict their parking to certain areas. This applies to certain municipalities in Canada as well and it would be best to check before leaving your RV on the street .

    The best story of the week came from the teacher of the class who wrote as follows:

    “Once in Minnesota, my husband had unknowingly exceeded the speed limit in what was admittedly a speed trap. A police officer quickly pulled us over and was in the process of writing out the ticket until he asked where we lived. When my husband gave him the address, the officer asked a few details about the house. He then tore up the ticket and introduced himself as our new neighbour across the street, shook our hands, and welcomed to us to the neighbourhood.”

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