Did York Region Drivers Lose Their Minds in 2012?
York Regional Police publish various reports on their website. The Annual Statistical Report reveals some interesting numbers and trends. We recently reviewed those reports covering 2000 to 2016 with an eye on charges for careless driving under Section 130 of the Highway Traffic Act and found some startling results.
Careless driving charges remained fairly stable and static over the years from 2000 to 2011. From 2003 to 2005 the number of York Region drivers charged with careless driving actually dropped. But then something happened…
From 2011 to 2012 the number of careless charges jumped almost 20%. Followed by another 20% increase the next year, and almost 28% the year after that and 14% the year after that! Bear in mind these numbers are adjusted for population so more drivers in the area does not account for the increase. In 2005 there were 156.47 careless driving charges laid per 100,000 of population. By 2016 that number had tripled to 470.30.
A careless driving charge is no joke. Under the Highway Traffic Act, a conviction carries serious consequences. If found guilty, drivers face a fine of up to $2,000 (a minimum of $400), 6 months imprisonment, or both. A two-year license suspension is also possible, not to mention the 6 demerit points and enormous impact on insurance premiums.
So what happened? Did we all forget how to drive on New Year’s Eve in 2011? No. Clearly the order was passed down from the top for police in York Region to lay more careless driving charges. The reason is easy to understand. Careless driving covers a lot of ground. It is being used as a “catch-all” charge that is laid by police who then rely on the court system to sort out a conviction based either on an early resolution with the Crown Prosecutor or at trial.
The good news is that a careless driving charge is not always an easy one for the Crown to prove and can be beaten with competent legal representation. Call SW Legal Services if you’re the next York Region driver to face a careless driving charge. According to the statistics, it’s only a matter of time.