How a Medical Condition Can Impact Your Driver’s License

safe your licenseWhat is a Medical Driver License Suspension?

In Ontario, doctors are required by law to report anyone over 16 who they believe is not able to drive safely due to a medical condition. They file their report with the Ministry of Transportation, which may then request more information, or may suspend the license without need for further evidence. Some of the more common conditions that lead to a medical suspension include alcohol/drug abuse, epilepsy, diabetes, and major vision problems, among others. The timeline and necessary steps for getting a license reinstated depends on the severity and nature of the condition, and will require proof that the driver has taken these steps and can now drive safely.

What if I’m caught driving while under a medical suspension? Continue reading




Ontario Driving Myths

Myth: “I was pulled over on local streets by the Ontario Provincial Police and given a speeding ticket but since my town has its own police force don’t they have jurisdiction, making that ticket invalid?”

MYTH!

Without a doubt this is one of the most common misconceptions about traffic ticket issuances in Ontario. Scouring Canadian driving message boards it becomes clear that there has not been enough clarity on the subject of police jurisdiction in Canada and Ontario specifically. There are numerous fractions of law enforcement throughout Canada and this has made it somewhat confusing for Ontario drivers when they are issued a traffic ticket by a police officer that they did not think had control in that area. The idea that you cannot be issued a traffic ticket by a provincial police officer while in municipal/town/city limits is a MYTH.

In Canada, there are three main levels of police forces that shape the law
enforcement system:

  • Municipal – York Regional Police, Barrie Police Service, Toronto Police Service, etc.
  • Provincial – Only used in Ontario, Québec, and Newfoundland – Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Sûreté du Québec/Quebec Provincial Police, and Royal Newfoundland Constabulary
  • Federal – The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)

Some towns/cities in Canada have their own police forces such as Toronto Police Services or York Region Police while other municipalities contract out to the provincial (in Ontario, the Ontario Provincial Police) or federal police services (RCMP). There are also parts of Canada in the North as well as some Native reserves that have no local police and are patrolled solely by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Given this, the RCMP has the power to arrest and/or ticket for any offense anywhere in Canada regardless of any municipal or provincial police services in place in that region.

Certain offences are typically divided up and handled by these different levels/categories of police based on location, type of offense and seriousness of the situation. However, in Ontario you can receive a traffic ticket from your local city/town police, the OPP, or the RCMP anywhere in the province if they are the police officer that witnessed you breaking the law. For example, if you are pulled over for speeding within the City of Toronto, an RCMP or OPP officer can issue you a ticket and it is just as legal as if it were issued by an officer of the Toronto Police Service. Another example may be a Toronto Police officer pulling someone over for speeding in Ottawa. As it stands, a Toronto Police officer has full power to exercise the law should they see someone violating traffic ordinances throughout Ontario.

This false perception of the jurisdiction of police officers in Ontario is widespread and over time it became a persistent road myth. If you are pulled over by any municipal, OPP or RCMP officers in Ontario they can lay charges anywhere in the province and vice versa. Officers with the RCMP have the most power and can place charges or issue a ticket anywhere within Canada.

Though it is not clear where this Ontario driving myth came from, some ideas may include how the United States police system works, hopefully we have cleared it up a little bit for you. Police jurisdiction in Ontario is not a valid justification for dismissing any driving charge or ticket. The only thing that will help you following a traffic infraction is to know the law, learn your rights, and to have an effective and legal defense.




Driving Without Insurance

You might remember your driving school instructor going on about the importance of getting car insurance. We all know we’re supposed to have it, but sometimes people still drive without it. Do you know what would happen if a police officer caught you without it? Hopefully, you won’t learn the hard way!

The Essentials

In Ontario, each vehicle must have insurance of at least $200,000 to cover you in case you hurt someone else or damage their property. This is referred to as third-party liability insurance. Collision insurance, which covers your own property, is generally a good idea but is not legally required.

Insurance-related charges can quickly get very complicated. Much of the law on this topic is found in the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act of Ontario. Technically, the charge for driving with no insurance is known as “operate motor vehicle without insurance” and it’s not to be taken lightly: a first conviction would set you back $5000 to $25,000 (plus a 25% surcharge) and a subsequent conviction would cost $10,000 to $50,000 in fines, plus 25%. Getting convicted a second time might result in a one-year license suspension and a possible vehicle impoundment of up to three months. Refusing to show your insurance card when asked by a police officer could carry a fine of up to $400.

Letting Someone Borrow Your Car

What if you let a friend drive your uninsured car? You could be charged because the responsibility for having insurance falls on the vehicle owner or person holding the lease. The same stiff penalties outlined above apply. But your friend isn’t completely off the hook. He/she may face a fine, though a much smaller one.

False or Invalid Insurance Cards

As would be expected, there are harsh penalties for presenting false evidence of insurance. If you give a false or invalid insurance card – even if you don’t know but simply ought to know that it’s false or invalid – you could be faced with a bill of $10,000 to $50,000 on a first conviction and double those amounts on a subsequent conviction. It’s important to stay up to date with your insurance because the card could be invalid before the expiration date.

A Word of Caution

It can be tempting, particularly for young drivers, to delay purchasing auto insurance. Income may not be very high or stable and rates tend to be higher for this group. A possible reason why premiums are often higher for them – that they’re at an increased risk of getting into an accident – is precisely why insurance is especially important. In the event of an accident, a driver who doesn’t have third-party liability insurance may have to cough up huge amounts. Driving without any insurance is not a risk worth taking – for anyone.

So keep your valid insurance card with you when you get behind the wheel and let’s hope you don’t face these unpleasant consequences. If you do find yourself in a tight spot, give us a call and the professionals at XCopper will help you out.