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BCTA says drivers should be able to fight tickets electronically

LANGLEY, B.C. -- The B.C. Trucking Association (BCTA) has written to the Minister Responsible for Deregulation in h...

LANGLEY, B.C. — The B.C. Trucking Association (BCTA) has written to the Minister Responsible for Deregulation in hopes of changing the way long-distance truckers can challenge traffic tickets in the province.

Currently in B.C., drivers must appear in court personally or hire a lawyer to represent them in order to challenge a traffic violation. Because this is often impractical for long-distance truckers, the driver or company often pay the fine which is then reflected on their driver and carrier profile records.

BCTA president, Paul Landry, is appealing to the province to consider alternatives for long-distance truckers such as the ability to challenge the fine by submitting an affidavit, participating in an informal hearing over the phone, or pleading in writing. Landry also suggested technology could be used to allow drivers to dispute tickets from outside the region where the ticket was issued.

"While we do not doubt the professionalism and integrity of the vast majority of enforcement officers, the current system lends itself to abuse in that officers can lay charges knowing that most drivers cannot afford to dispute the charges," wrote BCTA president, Paul Landry. "Given the flexibility allowed to the prosecution in B.C., it would seem only fair to allow the same degree of flexibility to individuals and companies. Specifically, truck drivers (and others) should be allowed to either provide evidence or plead by telephone, facsimile, video conferencing or other electronic means."

Another option would be allowing drivers to appeal tickets in a court closer to their home while the prosecutor could participate electronically, Landry suggested.

"While this is not a case of "justice delayed" being "justice denied," the current system does deny justice in the sense that the cost of defending oneself is prohibitive," he wrote. "The flexibility to dispute a ticket will be welcomed by drivers and trucking companies who will see B.C. as a progressive jurisdiction that understands and supports a fair judicial system."

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