Today in the legislature we debated Bill 12: Public Safety Statutes Amendment Act at second reading. This non-controversial bill makes two changes:
1) It amends the Offence Act to allow for e-ticketing of drivers;
2) It amends the Motor Vehicle Act to require a peace officer to impound the car a person was driving at the time that person was given a notice of a 30-day or 90-day driving prohibition as a result of a roadside alcohol test.
Below I reproduce the text and video of my brief speech in support of this bill.
A. Weaver: I too rise to take my place in the debates on Bill 12 — 2017 Public Safety Statutes Amendment Act. I too rise to speak in support of this bill.
This is the fourth of four bills receiving unanimous support today in the House. It’s too bad the school children that were just here left — to see yet another bill to be agreed upon, so that people could actually see when this Legislature works instead of the fights that often occur in question period.
This bill, as was mentioned by the former RCMP officer and the member for Prince George–Mackenzie, makes two substantive changes. It amends the Offence Act to allow for e-ticketing of drivers. As was mentioned, current legislation restricts police officers to issuing paper tickets in a prescribed form. This bill will allow for the issuing of e-tickets as well as paper tickets.
I can only imagine the multiple translations of a ticket that was written in my handwriting, and I do understand, as mentioned by the member for Prince George–Mackenzie, that there must be many an occasion — and as personal experience, it was many occasions — where illegible handwriting led to tickets that would otherwise be issued not being issued. It does concern me that this will be a money grab by the province. I’m hoping that the public listening to this, riveted to this on their TV screens, will recognize that no longer will illegible handwriting let them away from tickets.
I also do support the introduction of the ability to pay the tickets on-line. I mean, literally the government is pretty much, or this in particular, one of the last things in our society that allows you to pay on-line, so it’s very timely that this is brought forward. Or timely is the wrong word. It’s about time that this was brought forward.
The three broad changes in this bill in the first section, changes to the Offence Act, allow officers, as I mentioned, to issue e-tickets and make copies of e-tickets, allows officers to create e-certificates of service and also allows for the transport of electronic records to ICBC. It will be piloted in the select regions as a part of a road safety initiative prior to rolling them out provincewide. These regions include the CRD, Vancouver, Delta and Prince George. As part of the road safety initiative, but separate from the legislation, as I mentioned, government will be rolling out a modern new innovative ability to pay your fines on-line.
The second substantive change in this act is to amend the Motor Vehicle Act to require a peace officer to impound a car that a person was driving at the time that person was given a notice of 30- or 90-day driving prohibition as a result of a roadside alcohol test.
A review of this act by astute legislative reviewers and lawyers found that immediate roadside prohibitions for alcohol-affected drivers didn’t sufficiently cover the immediate impoundment of cars. That is, there was a loophole in the act that was not providing immediate coverage for the immediate impoundment of cars. This has been regular practice since 2010, that cars would be impounded, but there actually wasn’t legislation supporting this to occur.
Roughly, there’s been something like 10,000 impoundments that have occurred since 2010, that relate to this change. The change to enable this to occur will now obviously be retroactive to 2010. So anyone out there thinking that they’re going to get some kind of reimbursement for having their car impounded is out of luck, as we quickly make this retroactive to 2010.
As I mentioned, there’s no current or previous legal challenges relating to this amendment as we bring it forward, which is a good thing. I’m not sure if something is going to happen in the next 24 hours, but at least that’s what we were told. And it’s simply a gap that government identified, or at least lawyers identified, and they felt it was prudent to actually close this gap.
As mentioned by the member from Prince George–Mackenzie, this is an uncontroversial bill, something we’re pleased to support, and, frankly, I would have thought something that we could have brought in along with an earlier bill we discussed on Red Tape Reduction Day, because we’ve made great steps in the province of British Columbia in reducing red tape without actually naming a day after the reduction.