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By Jordan W. Charness

Peter was having a tough day. Actually he had the same tough day about four years ago, or maybe it was really 15 years back. In any case he was sure looking gloomy when he walked into my office the other day.

He reminded me that about 15 years ago he had been pulled over for crossing a double line. To add insult to injury, only two of his wheels had crossed the double line and less than half of his car was definitely in the other lane. He had tried to argue with the police officer but to no avail. (I did have to remind him that I had told him at the time that it only takes two wheels over the line to get a ticket for this offence; Two wheels, not the majority of the car.)

In any case, his day got worse when the police officer found out that he had neglected to pay the registration for his car. Not for that year, not for the year before, not for the year before that, or even the one before that one. It turns out that he never received the registration notice from the licence bureau. He didn’t know why; it just happened.

Once again I had to remind him that it was his responsibility to keep track of the day that he had to pay his registration and that failure to receive the notice was not going to be a valid defence.

While I was marvelling at his 15-year old recall, filtered as it was, I really had to question his level of intelligence when he informed me that once again someone had missed the deadline to register his wife’s car. Since, in his house, all things automotive were automatically in his domain, it was naturally his fault that his wife got a ticket for driving without registering her vehicle.

He wanted to know if the police officer should have issued a warning, given him a chance and let him go and pay it, or just let him off the hook entirely.

Once again I had to remind him that it was still his responsibility to keep track of the days that he had to pay his registration and the failure to receive the notice was not going to be a valid defence.

His wife had also received another ticket for failing to sign the registration slip that she was carrying around. It was already two years out of date but there is a law in that jurisdiction requiring that all registration slips be signed or else a $100 penalty could be issued. She was shown no mercy for that ticket either.

At this point the only glimmer of hope that I could give him was to point out that it was the car owner’s responsibility to sign the registration and since the car was registered in his wife’s name she was the one and only person who could have signed the registration – so at least this ticket should not technically be his fault.

He then took the opportunity to remind me, once again, that at least in his family, all things automotive are always his fault.

Like I said, Peter was having a tough day.

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