Police Powers

DriveSmartBC LogoIf you are stopped by the police, just what is it that the officer is entitled to do? This is a simple enough question, and one that I'm not sure that many drivers and their passengers have stopped to consider. Now that we have the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, does a driver have to do anything at all?

The police may stop a vehicle being operated on the highway at any time to insure that the driver is properly licenced and that the vehicle is licenced, insured and in proper mechanical repair. In most cases I stopped vehicles because I could see a defect or the driver had committed a driving error. The days of a "routine check" disappeared when the Charter arrived.

Signal to Stop

The driver's duty is to immediately come to a safe stop when signaled to do so. The operation of the red and blue lights (without the siren) on the patrol car or the hand signals of a uniformed officer are sufficient to require this action. The driver does have some leeway in balancing "immediately" with "safe stop," but a kilometer or two is not immediate.

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