Tim Schewe

Drivesmart column: Yes, you really do have to fix small defects to your vehicle

Police often issue a legal document called a Notice & Order

By Tim Schewe

Police often issue a legal document called a Notice & Order with box three checked to deal with minor vehicle defects. It requires that the person responsible make the repair as soon as possible and then report to a specific location within a set number of days to show that the repairs have been made. It sounds simple enough but it is surprising how many misconceptions there are about this.

The most common misconception is that the vehicle may be operated with the identified defects until the number of days specified in the order have been reached. This is not so. Repairs are required to be made promptly and there is no provision in the law to continue to operate the vehicle unless the operation is to immediately remove the vehicle from the highway.

Another misconception is that when a Notice & Order has been issued that a ticket cannot be written for the defect if the number of days stated on it has not been reached. This is also not true. If you choose to continue to operate the defective vehicle another officer may choose to ticket you for doing so. The fact that a Notice & Order has been issued is not a defence to the ticket in court.

A large number of drivers ignore the reporting provisions, operating under the misconception that nothing will happen to them if they fail to report. Printed directly below the instructions for box 3 is the following advice:

“Promptly repair or remedy the defect(s) or omission(s) noted below and present this Notice within ____ days to:

“This is an Order issued by a Peace Officer under the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations that must be complied with.”

This advice applies to all orders, Box 1, 2 or 3.

Less than 10 per cent of notices were ever returned as required in my experience. This creates a dilemma for the officer. If there is little hope of compliance, perhaps a ticket should be issued instead or the order upgraded to a Box 2.

Returning the notice to the location specified encourages officers to continue to use this method to deal with defects.

All offences for failing to comply with a Notice & Order carry the same penalty, which is a violation ticket with a ticketed amount of $598. A box outlined in red on the back of the copy issued to the driver warns of this fact.

The officer could choose to issue a ticket for the original defects in addition to the charge for failing to comply.

If you are issued a Notice & Order for any reason, please, read it carefully and follow the instructions completely.

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement. To comment or learn more, please visit DriveSmartBC.ca

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