The finger as a traffic offence

By: Law is Cool · August 4, 2009 · Filed Under Humour · 6 Comments 

One-digit salute earns driver second ticket

After he received the ticket and began to pull away, the driver raised his hand and flashed an obscene gesture toward provincial police Const. Bettina Schwarze.

Do you think the officer did the right thing?



6 Responses to “The finger as a traffic offence”

  1. Skinny Dipper on August 4th, 2009 4:08 pm

    I think Harper should invite the driver and the police officer to 24 Sussex for a beer summit.

  2. Annon on August 4th, 2009 5:16 pm

    Hell no the office did not do the right thing. This is abuse of power if I ever saw one. The man has freedom of speech and despite the fact the officer may not like being told to go f*ck herself (the verbal equivalent of the gesture), she should expect that reaction for giving the man a ticket. Cops are no better than ordinary people and if ordinary people don’t have recourse against hearing things they don’t like, the cops shouldn’t either. This story makes me very angry.

  3. Eric on August 5th, 2009 12:33 am

    There’s no relevant law that I can find that was intended for this type of application. Seems to me like this cop let her ego get the best of her and decided to manipulate the law and abuse her position for her own benefit. Shame.

  4. Omar Ha-Redeye on August 5th, 2009 10:04 am


    You’re right that there’s nothing that exactly matches the offence as described in the media reports.

    However, in the Provincial Offences Act: PROCEEDINGS COMMENCED BY CERTIFICATE OF OFFENCE, SCHEDULE 43, there is a provision similar enough for me to conclude that this is what was used:

    385. Improper arm signal

    It’s unlikely however that the second ticket would be successful if challenged.

    The basis for the offence is ss. 142(4) of the Highway Traffic Act,

    How to signal manually
    (4) When the signal is given by means of the hand and arm, the driver or operator shall indicate his or her intention to turn,
    (a) to the left, by extending the hand and arm horizontally and beyond the left side of the vehicle; or
    (b) to the right, by extending the hand and arm upward and beyond the left side of the vehicle.

    Although the judge would probably find that the gesture fails to meet the definition of the Act as described above, the contemptuous behaviour exhibited to an officer of the law would likely result in less leniency with the first ticket.

  5. Lola on August 5th, 2009 10:19 am

    I do agree that the person got what he deserved, but $110 is a bit over the top. He was 35KM above the speed limit so he should’ve known better. Why get pissed off for something that’s YOUR fault? Too bad the second ticket probably won’t stand in court.

  6. Logan Rathbone on August 5th, 2009 10:37 am

    Yes, I do think s. 142(4) was used. The officer probably issued a Certificate of Offence per the Provincial Offences Act, and as Omar posted, the Regulations under the POA assign “improper arm signal” as the shorthand name of the offence to be used on the certificate!