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Police Forum Police Head Mod: Skidmark
Questions & info about the Motor Vehicle Act. Mature discussion only.

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Old 05-07-2014, 02:22 AM   #1
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just curious

i'm just curious if anyone has ever tried to plead "common sense".

i have this 3 way intersection near my house that has what i'm going to call unlimited visibility in all directions. you can see a car or pedestrian coming from at least 300 feet in any direction. EVERYONE rolls the stop when there are no cars approaching simply because CLEARLY a car or pedestrian isn't going to appear out of thin air. Years ago i got a failure to obey sign ticket at this intersection for rolling through and an undercover cop was parked in a driveway. which i paid.

the other day i saw a market car waiting in the same location as a few years back. (since this one was marked and visibility is unlimited he was easy to spot thus i didn't roll through.

i got bored and pulled up the crash stats from the icbc website and there hasn't been a crash at this intersection since 2009. (thats how far back the stats go)

i was just curious what peoples thoughts were on disputing a ticket by simply pleading to a judge "common sense" and maybe presenting the crash stats. i'm clearly aware that rolling a stop sign is breaking the law but if there hasn't been a crash recorded since 2009 then clearly the intersection is so safe that you would have to be blind and asleep to have a crash here.
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Old 05-07-2014, 02:47 AM   #2
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So you're talking about a 3 way stop? with stop signs? Then the cop won't give a shit how far you can see or how everyone rolls through, stop sign is a STOP sign...
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Old 05-07-2014, 06:05 AM   #3
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So you're talking about a 3 way stop? with stop signs? Then the cop won't give a shit how far you can see or how everyone rolls through, stop sign is a STOP sign...
thanks captain obvious............

i am aware that rolling a stop sign is CLEARLY against the rules. i said that in my first post. i'm just wondering if there is any common sense applied to ticketing and enforcement of these laws or is it always black and white.
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Old 05-07-2014, 08:19 AM   #4
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Since you've already established that "common sense" to you is whatever is most beneficial to you at the time I will explain what uncommon sense is. Uncommon sense would entail being in the habit of following the law and stopping completely at every stop sign or traffic signal to ensure that the day that you come home drowsy or are paying less attention to the road you don't hit a pedestrian or small child on a bike. Uncommon sense would be realising that the courts are there to ensure a miscarriage of justice does not occur and not there to satisfy the entitlement of lawbreakers who think they are above the law. Uncommon sense would be accepting that even more policing of an intersection that "EVERYONE rolls the stop" is prudent until appropriate driving habits are drilled into local residents. The argument that everyone is doing something is never going fly in court nor would a lack of recent casualties or collisions anywhere be an acceptable reason to relax the laws. Our legal system isn't a "days since last accident" flipboard. So in summary, yes, common sense is applied in enforcement of these laws by being black and white.
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Old 05-07-2014, 08:48 AM   #5
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I say, since you have already disputed the ticket i assume, why not take your valid case to the judge. But beware, you will be found guilty. If they said its okay for YOU to bend the rules, it sets a very dangerous precedent. What about going 150km/h on a highway? "It's above the posted limit BUT it was 3 am and no one else around". See what I mean?

I say state your case, but then ask the judge for no points against your license, but you are willing to pay the fine. You understand you broke the law but that does not make you a danger on the road.
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Old 05-07-2014, 09:05 AM   #6
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"... a lack of recent casualties or collisions anywhere be an acceptable reason to relax the laws"


ok but in essence there are laws such as speed limits that are basically "days since last incident" laws. speed limits are basically just rules applied to limit the potential problems and they are enforced as such. (you rarely get tickets for 1-10km/h over) otherwise they would just make all speed limits 10km/h because logically that would decrease the total number of accidents the most. when there are to many incidents on a given road they decrease the speed limit, and now they are reviewing certain roads to possibly increase limits because it has been deemed safe to do so. in essence very similar.


i see it as "common sense" that an officer decides to not ticket a speeder doing 5km/h over the limit (obviously with the assumption that all other factors such as weather, traffic, etc are resonably accounted for)

and i see the same "common sense" in a driver rolling a stop sign at 5km/h given the same general assumptions like visibility, traffic (pedestrian and vehicular)

both are breaking the law but both are not viewed the same.

but i guess in the eyes of the courts they are both viewed the same just not in the eyes of the average police officer.


edit: i don't actually have a ticket. i'm just debating a viewpoint to see what peoples opinions are.
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Old 05-07-2014, 11:32 AM   #7
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Traffic violations are black and white. It is you either did it or you did not.

Issuing of the ticket can be up to the discretion of the officer (so I suppose "grey are") but the actual violation of the law is black and white.
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Old 05-07-2014, 12:12 PM   #8
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if i was a judge and you pleaded "common sense", i'd laugh at you and take away your license, tell you to re read the L book and to go retake all the driving tests.
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Old 05-07-2014, 04:51 PM   #9
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i see it as "common sense" that an officer decides to not ticket a speeder doing 5km/h over the limit
That's not called "common sense", that's called discretion. Common sense is, don't touch it because it's hot.
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Old 05-07-2014, 05:20 PM   #10
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If "common sense" is common....howcome it is so UNcommon?
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Old 05-07-2014, 05:37 PM   #11
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If "common sense" is common....howcome it is so UNcommon?
because it isn't sold in stores . Just ask Xplicit..
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Old 05-07-2014, 06:15 PM   #12
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ya, ask me
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Old 05-07-2014, 08:38 PM   #13
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i think people who use "common sense" as an argument are arrogant. By "common sense" you are stating what you know and that everyone else should agree with you and know it too. Obviously not everyone shares the same perspective as you.
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Old 05-07-2014, 08:43 PM   #14
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I just don't know if I should agree....or disagree with this post above?
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Old 05-09-2014, 05:56 PM   #15
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i think people who use "common sense" as an argument are arrogant. By "common sense" you are stating what you know and that everyone else should agree with you and know it too. Obviously not everyone shares the same perspective as you.
Touching a hot element = pain = common sense.

Poking a bear = getting bit = common sense.

Stoping at a BIG RED SIGN THAT SAYS STOP = common sense.

Knowing by heart the minute specifics of the motor vehicle act regarding this or that law = not common sense. That is specialized knowledge.

That said, there are still people that pickup hot things, poke bears, and rrrrrrollll thru stop signs.

As was said before.. you do what you practice. If you practice rolling stops, that's what you're gonna do the one day you're a little tired, and a cyclist is rolling across the crosswalk EXPECTING you to STOP.
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Old 05-11-2014, 01:21 AM   #16
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People do "rolling Stops" at these types of intersections all the time. Doesn't mean it isn't breaking the law but it doesn't mean it's unsafe either. If you get a ticket for it, clearly visibility isn't as good as you think because you got caught.
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Old 05-11-2014, 06:29 AM   #17
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Touching a hot element = pain = common sense.

Poking a bear = getting bit = common sense.

Stoping at a BIG RED SIGN THAT SAYS STOP = common sense.

Knowing by heart the minute specifics of the motor vehicle act regarding this or that law = not common sense. That is specialized knowledge.

That said, there are still people that pickup hot things, poke bears, and rrrrrrollll thru stop signs.

As was said before.. you do what you practice. If you practice rolling stops, that's what you're gonna do the one day you're a little tired, and a cyclist is rolling across the crosswalk EXPECTING you to STOP.

I teach my car & motorcycle students that "you'll do what you always do" & I also teach them about "creep". If you begin by stopping past the legal stop position just a bit, this can eventually lead to rolling them completely when "nobody else is there"...except as soundy said. If you always stop at a sign, even when nobody is there at 2am, you will automatically stop properly when somebody IS there. It's harder to "unlearn" a bad habit, than it is to learn it.

I issued many hundreds of stop sign tickets over the years and in almost all cases the stop sign runners actually believed they had legally stopped but had no idea they had not.
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Old 05-11-2014, 10:36 AM   #18
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I teach my car & motorcycle students that "you'll do what you always do" & I also teach them about "creep". If you begin by stopping past the legal stop position just a bit, this can eventually lead to rolling them completely when "nobody else is there"...except as soundy said. If you always stop at a sign, even when nobody is there at 2am, you will automatically stop properly when somebody IS there. It's harder to "unlearn" a bad habit, than it is to learn it.

I issued many hundreds of stop sign tickets over the years and in almost all cases the stop sign runners actually believed they had legally stopped but had no idea they had not.
It is ridiculous how they actually do believe they stopped. There is no way to convince them unless you show them video. And then there are the ones that are stopped behind the car in front of them who is stopped, and they either believe that counts, or actually think they were stopped because they weren't really paying attention.

But you have to love the ones where you see them going 30, make eye contact with you.. realize you are a cop... then slam on their brakes 3 feet after the line....
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Old 05-11-2014, 03:37 PM   #19
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Almost as much fun as those that see you, weave all over the road while trying to pull the seat belt on, they get furious that you would question their claim that they have been wearing the belt all day.
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Old 05-12-2014, 09:07 AM   #20
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Does the MVA clearly state to stop behind a stop sign for 3 whole seconds? Most of the time, I stop, look both ways, then proceed when safe. Takes 1 second on an unobstructed wide empty small intersection. Counting "1-one thousand, 2-one thousand, 3-one thousand" seems a bit tedious.
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Old 05-12-2014, 04:41 PM   #21
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Does the MVA clearly state to stop behind a stop sign for 3 whole seconds? Most of the time, I stop, look both ways, then proceed when safe. Takes 1 second on an unobstructed wide empty small intersection. Counting "1-one thousand, 2-one thousand, 3-one thousand" seems a bit tedious.

Nope. it says there must be "a complete cessation of forward movement". I tell my students to say "s.t.o.p." to themselves, then proceed if it is safe & clear.
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Old 05-12-2014, 06:04 PM   #22
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The thing I don't understand is... you were taught one thing before taking your road test. If you wouldn't do it during your road test, why would you try to argue it in court. I understand that not everybody drives like they would during a test... but if you get a VT, be accountable. "Everyone else is doing it. Going with the flow of traffic." and "convenience" are not excuses.
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Old 05-12-2014, 11:05 PM   #23
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All I'm going to say is,

You keep that habit of rolling through the stop signs (not just the common sense one), and one day, you do that to a normal stop sign, not a 3 or 4 way, and you missed that cyclist that was coming up.

It's always good to have good habits, because one day, you never know. Have it happened it to me, when you stop ( in your mind ) and realized that because of your "good habits", you only noticed that cyclist after the 2nd look. This can either save a life or accident. Worth the extra two seconds.

Whether it be fully stopping or a 360 degree check before backing up.
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Old 05-13-2014, 12:59 PM   #24
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chalk it up to another "driving tax" and move on with your life. You have two options when driving
1. Follow every single law out there, go 50 in a 50 zone, completely stop and every stop sign, use your turn signal everytime you change direction, don't check our phone at red lights, etc.
2. Break some "common sense" laws or blame everyone else for going over the speed limit. You will get caught for something at some point. Pay the fine and keep doing what you're doing. If you feel that the amount you've paid in fines is "worth" the time saved by speeding a little, not stopping at stop signs, etc, then you're ahead of the game!
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Old 05-13-2014, 01:21 PM   #25
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i got bored and pulled up the crash stats from the icbc website and there hasn't been a crash at this intersection since 2009. (thats how far back the stats go)
Did you stop to consider that the reason there hasn't been a crash is probably because most people stop like they're supposed to?
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