Inquiry:  I’ve been trying to resolve a traffic right-of-way dispute for some time and the Ottawa Police can’t seem to agree on an answer. I’m approaching a busy intersection with a two way stop and intend to turn right. Another driver from the opposite direction is already there, signalling to turn left (across my path). We’re both stopped for some time before traffic finally clears. Who has the right of way? The police can’t agree, and their answer is to charge both drivers and let the court decide. This seems rediculous, as someone must have right of way. The HTA isn’t specific enough. Can you answer this question? Thanks

Response:  The response to your question is unfortunately not a very definitive one given the information that you’ve provided.  The case law applicable will depend upon which specific section of the Highway Traffic Act that you’ve been charged under.  Common courtesy is that the driver who arrived first has the right of way.  However, if it is brought forward to Court, it will depend up the section of the HTA that you’ve been charged under, the details of the occurance, the applicable case law, how the defence and prosecution argue the matter, how witnesses do on the stand, and ultimately…how the Justice of the Peace decides to rule.  If you would like our assistance in proceeding with this matter, we may be contacted via our toll-free number 1-866-801-8299.

Greg Currie
Office Manager, London