The Highway Traffic Act at mga bagong dating - Part 2
By Constable Rey Olazo
Sa ating nakaraan na edition, aking tinalakay ang mga alituntunin na nakasaad sa Highway Traffic Act (HTA) tungkol sa mandatory requirement of having a valid driver’s license in order to drive a motor vehicle in Winnipeg. Sa ating mga bagong dating na nangangarap magmaneho na gamit ang kanilang driver’s license sa Pilipinas (except Student License), maaari itong maisakatuparan sa loob ng 90 days from your date of arrival in Canada. Mas mabuti na kumunsulta kayo sa isang professional na driving instructor o sa kamaganak na maalam sa batas trapiko sa Winnipeg hingil sa mga alituntunin at driving etiquette upang maiwasan ang problema at aksidente. Atin ding tinalakay ang mga consequences sa paglabag ng kaukulang bilis ng pagmamaneho sa ating mga kalye at pagbalewala sa mga traffic control devices.
In this edition we will be discussing parking restrictions, passing a stopped school bus at pagtatapon ng kalat sa kalye.
In our new home and as we go around the city, we can observe that parking on the streets – residential and commercial areas – are regulated by signs. For example, No Parking, Snow Route, Bus Stop etc. In the event that further restrictions will be enforced such as snow clearing or construction, the City will provide advanced notice to inform us about it. These parking restrictions are strictly enforced by the Winnipeg Parking Authorities. You can see the enforcers walking around the downtown areas or driving in a marked vehicle around the city.
Natatandaan ko pa noong nag-aaply ako sa Police Service, ako ay naka-schedule sumailalim sa neuro-psychiatric interview sa Health and Science Centre. Pumarada ako sa Williams Street na mayroong two-hour parking restriction. Sa hindi inaasahang pangyayari ay humaba ang aking interview nang halos 20 minutes. When I came back to my vehicle, I was surprised to see an envelope tucked under my wiper blade containing a Provincial Offence Notice (PON). Nakasaad ang aking paglabag sa parking guidelines at ako’y pinagmumulta ng $70.00, ngunit mayroong 50 per cent discount option if the PON would be paid within three days. Nasabi ko tuloy sa aking sarili na ang dating ugali na pagparada kahit saan ay hindi na maaari dito sa Winnipeg. Maliit na bagay ngunit kung iyong lilimiin ay makikita mo na ang serious enforcement ng mga alituntunin ang siyang dahilan kung bakit maayos at maluwag ang mga kalye at unobstructed ang flow of traffic dito sa ating siyudad. The rules pertaining to parking zones are governed by the City of Winnipeg Parking By-Laws.
The next topic involves the passing of a parked school bus. Marami sa atin na sa panimula ng ating pang-araw-araw na buhay sa Winnipeg ay sinasamahan o hinihintay natin ang ating mga anak sa kanilang designated school bus pick-up or drop-off point. Noong bago pa lang kami dito sa Canada, hindi ko maiwasang humanga sa desiplina ng mga vehicle driver na humihinto kapag inilabas na ng school bus driver ang stop sign sa gilid ng bus at umilaw ang amber lights ng sasakyan. Here in Manitoba, it is a big “No-No” to pass by a school bus stopped on an undivided roadway with its signs and lights activated.
Under Section 137(5) of the HTA, “Where a school bus is stopped on a highway, if a lamp or other warning device is operating thereon, or displayed there from, as required by subsection (4), the driver of a motor vehicle approaching the school bus from any direction shall bring the motor vehicle to a stop not less than 5 meters from the school bus before passing it, and he shall not proceed unless the school bus resumes motion, or the driver thereof signals him to proceed or ceases to operate or display the lamp or other warning device to which reference is made in subsection (4).” The HTA outlines a fine of $673.00 for violation of this provision. (Subsection 4 discussed the requirements the driver of the school bus should made prior to stopping his vehicle and allowing the children or students to get on or off it.)
When I was still in general patrol, I didn’t give breaks to vehicle drivers and passengers who litter the street. For me there is no excuse for throwing your garbage on the roadways, because the manufacturer of your vehicle designed numerous sub-compartments within the confines of your vehicle for you to have a spot to dump your burger wrapper and cigarette butts and ashes. If we want to be respected, we should respect other people’s rights. We are not the only one who shoulder the cost of cleaning the roadway, so why should we deprive other people from enjoying clean and litter free streets.
The HTA defines provisions related to littering for both the driver and passenger of a motor vehicle. Section 217 (1) dwells on littering on the highway. Sub-sections (A) is about depositing dangerous litter with a fine of $299.65, (B) is burning materials which corresponds but not limited to lighted cigarette butts and ashes with a fine of $237.50 and (C) is for general litter like your burger and candy wrapper, which will cost you $175.30. In this particular section of the HTA, both the driver and passenger can be issued with a PON and pay the penalty.
In my experience, after issuing numerous PON for violation of this provision, not even once did I get a stay of proceeding – meaning everyone got convicted and was ordered to pay the penalty by the magistrate. Lesson learned. If you want to dump your trash, wait until you arrive home and throw it in your garbage bin. This act will cost you a couple of steps towards your trash bin but will spare you some of your baon or hard earned money.
There might be some people who will be telling you that they have done and have gotten away with the above infractions. Luck is not always available and the time will come when they will get caught and suffer the fines for it. Try to think this way; we are in a new country that we will be calling our home and most of us migrated here for the purpose of providing ourselves with a new life that will assure our children a prosperous and safe existence in an environment that is clean and healthy. Don’t you think, if we do and start it right, we will be able to achieve our goals?
May God bless us all.
Next issue: Impaired driving, use of cellphones and electronic devices, and motor vehicle collision etiquette.
Constable Rey Olazo is a member of the Diversity Relations Section of the Winnipeg Police Service. He can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com. For urgent matters that require Police response please call 911 and for non-emergency you may call (204) 986-6222.