If you ride motorcycles faster than the speed limit (and most do…) then you have heard about Grant Gottgetreu. Good news! He is retired now and even riding his motorcycle. Sort of. He has taken up the role of consultant to you. He can now help you get off your speeding ticket and other tickets you have received. It’s interesting to see such a move and I was very curious. So, what’s the deal Grant?
How many people breathed a sigh of relief when you retired?
One person, my wife. I didn’t have a lot of repeat customers in my line of work. Some people saw me twice, but it was rare.
How many impounds did you issue?
2100 impounds from 2010 to 2017, I impounded everyone. No favorites. I did my job very well. Now, everyone has their specialty when they police. Some go after drug dealers, assault, traffic, etc. I enjoy speeding tickets. Nobody had more impounds than I did, and I would exceed entire departments in other jurisdictions.
What is the deal with speed? Why is it such an issue?
My tolerance for speeders was 30kmh+ that was not in residential areas (ex. playgrounds, school zones, etc). That may seem high which it is, but some police officers will pull you over for 10kmh over the limit. Everyone is different. People are good at policing themselves on speed and no one likes to be told how fast they can go. It’s why society sees a speed limit and generally exceeds it by 10kmh to 15kmh over. This does become a factor when we see low speed limits. For example, on highway 17 and Old Yale Rd, the speed drops from 80kmh to 50kmh. This was put in place because the curved road, the railway crossing, and the traffic light intersection. You will still see most of the traffic going over 50kmh in that area. As for the 80kmh speed limit on highway 17, I have no idea why it is 80kmh. Highway 91 and 99 is 90kmh but the Ministry of Transportation has their reasons, but you will not get a satisfactory answer from them. If you don’t like the speed limit you need to write them a letter. I am all for higher speed limits as there are a lot of really good drivers out there BUT there are far too many atrocious drivers out there. It is also getting worse and it is just too easy to get a license in this province.
Is it worth it to fight an impound ticket or a speeding ticket?
Absolutely. Do not fight the ticket on the roadside. The impound laws are not discretionary to the officer. By law we must impound the vehicle. I prefer the law this way because if the impoundment was discretionary, this would increase conflict between the motorist and the officer. You know? Like “why are you impounding my car when it’s discretionary?” As it is right now, the police cannot play favorites. However, making an impound discretionary should be looked into by the Government.
In the courtroom I was fair. If the speeder was looking to get off the ticket, that was very unlikely. That would only happen if the officer (myself) did not show up and I did not make it to all my cases. This would occur if I was tied up on a file; my workload did not allow me to be in two places at once. Or if I was off sick. If you want to get off your speeding ticket against a traffic, you must prove the defense of necessity. For example, you are escaping a forest fire or something else as severe. Your better approach is to acknowledge speeding but get a reduction in the penalties. You have to hope for a break. Now if the ticket gets changed to registered owner, then you’re off ICBC’s high risk driver premium list. You do not want to be on that list.
Are the impound laws making a difference?
Yes, they are a great job and revenue creator for taxis and tow truck companies. However, in my opinion, the excessive speed laws have had zero impact. Vehicle deaths are down because of the safety and technology. Cars, trucks, and minivans are all faster. They are even marketed as being high performance. In 2014, I issued 420 impounds. In 2015, 550 impounds, and 2016, 647 impounds. People are always going to speed. While it is against the law it is viewed as being morally acceptable. Now that changes if someone runs a red light intentionally or something more serious like murder. People view that as morally unacceptable. It is my job to apply the law as it is written out. If you want to make the job of the cop easy, then speed during sunny weekends and 2am on a dry night. That’s when we are out in droves.
Would you change the impound laws? What would be your approach?
I would change the driver licensing. It is too easy to get a driver’s license. Firstly, no driver’s license until age 18. You’re not even legal age until 18 so why should be able to drive. We all know how reckless we were at 16 (especially males). This is not a good time to learn to drive. Secondly, make the road test VERY hard, the test is too easy. Lastly, everyone gets tested, no license transfers from different countries. We need to know how well you understand the laws here. Some out of country drivers do not even know that they need to pull over when our lights and sirens are flashing.
What are you doing now in your retirement?
I’m an independent Forensic Consultant. I get hired by lawyers as far away as Quebec. I make sure police officers are doing their jobs in accordance with the training and legal mandated guidelines. When I am asked to review a case, if it’s spot on, I simply return it to the lawyers and say, “it looks really good; the officer did a good job”. Some people call me a traitor or that I am worse than a lawyer (which I find hilarious), but quite frankly I could care less about their opinions. I am using my expertise to highlight deficiencies in an investigation. I am quality control. Just like Mike Holmes, the contractor every contractor hates.
Other than don’t speed. What should we do or not do when facing an impound?
Be nice. No point in being argumentative. It gets you nothing. And quite frankly, driver’s that argued with me simply resulted in me making lots and lots of notes for court. A common request is to show you the radar gun. There is no legal requirement for the cop to show you the radar gun. If you are nice to the officer, they may show you, but it has no bearing on your ticket or impound at that moment. Do not argue the merits of the ticket roadside. Do it in court. What you should be doing is taking notes, take as much as you can. The people who get it right are the Hells Angels. Whenever they get a ticket, they stay quiet and accept it. They take it to court and argue the validity of the ticket there in front of the judge.
Do radar detectors work?
They are an early warning to the ticket you are going to get. The cheaper ones are not effective. The higher cost ones and I mean higher, they work. These ones cost around $10,000 installed (Al Priority or Stinger). Laser detectors and jammers are different. Laser detectors operate at certain frequencies. Your laser detector must match the frequency of the laser gun. If it does not you will not be warned. I’ve pulled over motorists with laser detectors and they were shocked they were not warned. Your laser detector must match the frequency of my laser gun. As for jammers, currently they are legal in BC but what is not legal is the modifications to your license plate. Most laser jammers drill a small hole in your license plate to jam the signal. This is fine but the hole you drilled into your license plate is not. This becomes an “altered plate”, and both of your license plates can be seized, and you can be slapped with a mandatory court appearance in Provincial Court. While laser jammers may work, they mostly just delay the reading. If you don’t get you the first time. We’ll get you the next reading.
How do you feel about the distracted driving and cell phone use laws?
You deserve a ticket if you touch your phone while driving. The laws are there to issue $368 fine and four points. Just don’t do it. Is it necessary? No. There were 80 distracted driving deaths last year in Canada. 2 of them were related to cell phones. From 2010 to 2017 there were 14 people killed via electronic devices. The rules are very harsh towards cell phone use, but it is wrong to condemn it as a problem. Our vehicles are full of distractions; just look at all the buttons and gauges on your dashboard. The cell phone is an extension of this.
More people die sitting on the toilet then cell phone use in cars. So why issue tickets. Fines and points. Fines go to general revenue, points go to ICBC. The cost of the points goes right to ICBC. So that helps them get out of the red they are in now. This is the law and the police must enforce it. The police did not make the laws, the law makers did.
Thanks for taking the time Grant. Now, since you are recently retired does this mean you’ll be fighting against tickets you issued? 😀