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Motor Vehicle Act (amended)

BILL NO. 2

(as introduced)

2nd Session, 60th General Assembly
Nova Scotia
56 Elizabeth II, 2007



Private Member's Bill



Motor Vehicle Act
(amended)



Darrell Dexter
Cole Harbour



First Reading: November 23, 2007

(Explanatory Note)

Second Reading:

Third Reading:

Explanatory Note

This Bill

(a) creates a new offence of street racing with substantial fines and provisions for licence surrender and suspension; and

(b) provides for the impounding of vehicles involved in street racing.

An Act to Amend Chapter 293
of the Revised Statutes, 1989,
the Motor Vehicle Act

Be it enacted by the Governor and Assembly as follows:

1 Chapter 293 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Motor Vehicle Act, is amended by adding immediately after Section 163 the following Section:

163A (1) In this Section, "race" means circumstances in which, taking into account the condition of the road, traffic, visibility and weather, the operator of a motor vehicle is operating the motor vehicle without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway or in a manner that may cause harm to an individual, by

(a) outdistancing or attempting to outdistance one or more other motor vehicles;

(b) preventing or attempting to prevent one or more other motor vehicles from passing; or

(c) driving at excessive speed in order to arrive at or attempt to arrive at a given destination ahead of one or more other motor vehicles.

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, no person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway in a race.

(3) Every person who contravenes subsection (2) is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not less than two thousand dollars and not more than ten thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both, and, in addition, the person's driver's license may be suspended

(a) on a first conviction under this Section, for not more than two years; or

(b) on a subsequent conviction under this Section, for not more than ten years.

(4) In determining whether a conviction is a subsequent conviction for the purpose of subsection (3), the only question to be considered is the sequence of convictions and no consideration shall be given to the sequence of commission of offences or whether any offence occurred before or after any conviction.

(5) A conviction that is more than ten years after the previous conviction is deemed to be a first conviction for the purpose of subsection (3).

(6) Where a police officer believes on reasonable and probable grounds that a person is driving, or has driven, a motor vehicle on a highway in contravention of subsection (2), the officer shall request that the person surrender the person's driver's license.

(7) Upon a request being made under subsection (6), the person to whom the request is made shall forthwith surrender the person's driver's license to the police officer and, whether or not the person is unable or fails to surrender the license to the police officer, the person's driver's license is suspended for a period of seven days from the time the request is made.

(8) Every officer who asks for the surrender of a person's driver's license under this Section shall keep a record of the license received with the name and address of the person and the date and time of the suspension and shall, as soon as practicable after receiving the license, provide the person with a notice of suspension showing the time from which the suspension takes effect and the period of time for which the license is suspended.

2 Chapter 293 is further amended by adding immediately after Section 273A the following Sections:

273B (1) Where a peace officer has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that a person has operated a motor vehicle on a highway in a race contrary to Section 163A and the peace officer intends to charge the person who operated the motor vehicle, the peace officer may cause the motor vehicle to be taken to, and impounded for forty-eight hours at, a place directed by the peace officer.

(2) Where a peace officer is satisfied that the impoundment of a motor vehicle under subsection (1) would

(a) jeopardize the safety of the occupants of the motor vehicle; or

(b) leave the occupants stranded,

the peace officer shall arrange for transportation of the occupants of the motor vehicle to the nearest safe area where they can summon an alternative form of transportation.

(3) The owner or operator of a motor vehicle impounded under subsection (1) may remove any cargo or other personal property that is in or on the motor vehicle.

(4) Notwithstanding subsection (1), where a peace officer is satisfied that a motor vehicle impounded under that subsection is stolen property, the peace officer shall

(a) order the person who has custody of the impounded motor vehicle to release the motor vehicle to the owner or a person authorized by the owner; and

(b) promptly give notice to the Registrar of the release of the impounded motor vehicle.

(5) After receiving the notice referred to in subsection (4), the Registrar shall pay to the person who had custody of the motor vehicle the prescribed impoundment costs and charges.

(6) Where a motor vehicle is impounded under subsection (1), the peace officer shall take all reasonable steps to notify the owner of the motor vehicle.

(7) A person shall not remove or permit the removal of a motor vehicle from the place where it is impounded under subsection (1) before the end of the forty-eight hour period unless the person is authorized to do so by

(a) an order of a peace officer under subsection (4), (8) or (11); or

(b) order of a court.

(8) A peace officer shall order the release of a motor vehicle on request by an owner if

(a) the owner is not the person whose operation of the motor vehicle is the reason for the impoundment; and

(b) the motor vehicle is to be released, after payment of the prescribed costs and charges, to the owner or a person other than the person whose operation of the motor vehicle is the reason for the impoundment.

(9) When the impoundment period referred to in subsection (1) has elapsed, the owner, or a person authorized by the owner, may obtain the release of the motor vehicle after paying the prescribed costs and charges.

(10) An impoundment under this Section is an impoundment for the purpose of clause (b) of subsection (1) of Section 273C unless the impoundment is withdrawn by the peace officer under subsection (11).

(11) A peace officer may withdraw an impoundment before the forty-eight hour period has elapsed and may order the release of the motor vehicle, subject to payment of the prescribed costs and charges.

273C (1) A peace officer may cause a motor vehicle to be taken to, and impounded for thirty days at, a place directed by the peace officer if the peace officer has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that

(a) a person has operated the motor vehicle on a highway in a race and the peace officer intends to charge the person who operated the motor vehicle; and

(b) the person who operated the motor vehicle had, within two years before the day of the impoundment, operated a motor vehicle that was impounded under Section 273B, and that impoundment was not withdrawn under subsection (11) of that Section.

(2) Where a peace officer is satisfied that the impoundment of a motor vehicle under subsection (1) would

(a) jeopardize the safety of the occupants of the motor vehicle; or

(b) leave the occupants stranded,

the peace officer shall arrange for transportation of the occupants of the motor vehicle to the nearest safe area where they can summon an alternative form of transportation.

(3) The owner or operator of a motor vehicle impounded under subsection (1) may remove any cargo or other personal property that is in or on the motor vehicle.

(4) Notwithstanding subsection (1), where, at any time before a review is conducted under Section 273F, the Registrar is satisfied that a motor vehicle impounded under subsection (1) is stolen property, the Registrar shall

(a) order the person who has custody of the impounded motor vehicle to release the motor vehicle to the owner or a person authorized by the owner, if the owner completes a statutory declaration; and

(b) pay to the person who has custody of the impounded motor vehicle the prescribed costs and charges.

(5) Notwithstanding subsection (1), where, at any time before a review is conducted under Section 273F, a peace officer is satisfied that a motor vehicle impounded under subsection (1) is stolen property, the peace officer shall

(a) order the person who has custody of the impounded motor vehicle to release the motor vehicle to the owner or a person authorized by the owner; and

(b) promptly give notice to the Registrar of the release of the impounded motor vehicle.

(6) After receiving the notice referred to in subsection (5), the Registrar shall pay to the person who had custody of the motor vehicle the prescribed impoundment costs and charges.

273D (1) A peace officer who impounds a motor vehicle under Section 273B or 273C shall complete, retain a copy of and forward to the Registrar an incident report, in the form established by the Registrar, detailing the circumstances that resulted in the impoundment, the offence with which the operator is being charged and any other relevant information.

(2) The incident report forms part of the driving record of the operator of the impounded motor vehicle and may be used, in conjunction with any other relevant information, for the purpose of imposing a prohibition under this Act.

(3) A peace officer who impounds a motor vehicle under Section 273B or 273C shall

(a) complete a notice of impoundment;

(b) give a copy of the incident report to the operator of the motor vehicle;

(c) give a copy of the notice of impoundment to the operator of the motor vehicle and to the person who has custody of the impounded motor vehicle;

(d) unless an impoundment is withdrawn under subsection (11) of Section 273B, forward to the Registrar

(i) the motor vehicle impoundment report, in the form established by the Registrar, sworn or solemnly affirmed by the peace officer, and

(ii) a copy of the notice of impoundment; and

(e) retain a copy of the notice of impoundment.

(4) When the Registrar receives a copy of the notice of impoundment pursuant to subsection (3), the Registrar shall promptly send a copy of that notice by mail to the last known address of the registered owner of the motor vehicle as shown in the records maintained by the Registrar.

(5) The notice of impoundment for an impoundment for forty-eight hours must contain

(a) a statement of the right of the owner to have the motor vehicle released under subsection (8) of Section 273B;

(b) a statement that the motor vehicle will be impounded for forty-eight hours; and

(c) a statement that where the owner of the motor vehicle does not pay the prescribed costs and charges, the motor vehicle may be disposed of.

(6) The notice of impoundment for an impoundment for thirty days must contain

(a) a statement of the right to have the impoundment reviewed by the Registrar under Section 273F;

(b) instructions describing how to apply for that review;

(c) a statement that where the owner of the motor vehicle does not apply for a review under Section 273F, the motor vehicle will be impounded for thirty days; and

(d) a statement that where the owner of the motor vehicle does not pay the prescribed costs and charges, the motor vehicle may be disposed of.

273E (1) The Registrar shall authorize the release of a motor vehicle impounded under Section 273C on request by an owner in accordance with subsection (2) if

(a) the owner is not the person whose operation of the motor vehicle is the reason for the impoundment; and

(b) the motor vehicle is to be released to the owner or a person other than the person whose operation of the motor vehicle is the reason for the impoundment.

(2) A request by an owner under subsection (1) must be in the form, contain the information and be completed in the manner required by the Registrar.

273F The owner of a motor vehicle who operated the motor vehicle in a manner that resulted in the motor vehicle being impounded under Section 273C may, within thirty days of the impoundment, apply to the Registrar for a review of the impoundment.

273G In a review under Section 273F, the Registrar shall consider

(a) the driving record of the applicant;

(b) an incident report forwarded under subsection (1) of Section 273D;

(c) a motor vehicle impoundment report forwarded under sub-section (3) of Section 273D;

(d) where an oral hearing is held, in addition to the reports referred to in clauses (b) and (c), any relevant evidence given or representations made at the hearing; and

(e) any relevant sworn or solemnly-affirmed statements and any other relevant information, including any report to a crown attorney or other information forwarded by the peace officer.

273H (1) Where, after considering an application for review under Section 273F in respect of a motor vehicle impounded under subsection (1) of Section 273C, the Registrar is satisfied that at the time of the impoundment the motor vehicle was not operated as described in subsection (1) of Section 273C, or that the applicant was not subject to a thirty-day impoundment under Section 273C, the Registrar shall

(a) revoke the impoundment;

(b) order the person who has custody of the impounded motor vehicle to release the motor vehicle to the owner or a person authorized by the owner;

(c) pay to the person who has custody of the impounded motor vehicle the prescribed costs and charges; and

(d) direct that the application and hearing fees paid be refunded to the applicant.

(2) The decision of the Registrar under subsection (1), and the reasons for the decision, must be in writing and a copy must be sent to the applicant within seven days of the date the application was considered or the oral hearing was held.

(3) The copy referred to in subsection (2) must be sent to the applicant

(a) at the last known address of the applicant as shown in the records of the Registrar; or

(b) at the address shown in the application for review if that address is different from the last known address in the records of the Registrar.

273I (1) The Governor in Council may make regulations prescribing costs and charges for the purpose of Sections 273B to 273H.

(2) The exercise by the Governor in Council of the authority contained in subsection (1) is regulations within the meaning of the Regulations Act.

3 The sums required for the purpose of this Act shall be paid out of moneys appropriated for that purpose by the Legislature.


This page and its contents published by the Office of the Legislative Counsel, Nova Scotia House of Assembly, and © 2007 Crown in right of Nova Scotia. Created November 23, 2007. Send comments to legc.office@gov.ns.ca.