Things to remember when selling a vehicle

Seller beware!

"Would you write about selling a vehicle? I have friends who sold a car and months later they received information that the car was in an impound lot. The purchaser had failed to register the car in his name and since the car was still registered to them they were legally liable. How does one insure that the new owner re-registers the vehicle?"

This is an area of civil law that I am not familiar with, so I asked Hammerco for legal advice. This is what was related to me.

"In my opinion the registered owner would bear responsibility to the towing/storage company. The seller would then have to chase after the buyer for indemnification. This may seem harsh, but the reason that we have a system of registration is to ensure that liabilities and responsibilities are clearly designated. It is the vendor's responsibility to ensure that registration is changed as much as it is the buyer's. If I was giving advice to the seller, I'd be telling them not to pay the account and have the matter addressed in court, so that the purchaser could be brought in by third party proceedings to place responsibility where it ought lie."

In Steps for the Seller, ICBC advises: “To complete the transfer, take the registration and transfer/tax form to an Autoplan broker. We strongly recommend going together with the buyer to ensure that the registration transfer is processed in a timely manner and that your name and any insurance and licence products are removed from the vehicle registration record.This is important in avoiding any possible liability claims associated with the future operation of the vehicle by the purchaser. If you cannot visit the Autoplan broker with the buyer, keep the seller's copy (with original signatures from both you and the seller) for your records.”

Form APV9T, the transfer/tax document, is critical to protect yourself. Complete it fully and if you don't wish to follow ICBC's advice above, have the buyer show photo ID. Insure the ID matches the form and keep the seller's copy of the form for your records.

I have been presented with little more than a vehicle description and a signature on a document that contained all copies during a traffic stop. This usually ended up in trouble for the buyer, but it also shows that the seller did not know the risks involved.

The purchaser is then required by the Motor Vehicle Act to present the form and register the vehicle within 10 days of the transfer. Many do not and the vehicle may be resold a number of times before it is registered again. No doubt this is done to avoid paying sales tax.

ICBC will tell you if the vehicle you sold is no longer registered in your name once it has been re-registered if you check with them.

If this does not happen within a reasonable time, you may wish to lodge a complaint with police and report the transfer to Consumer Taxation to force the buyer's hand.

Of course, this would assume that you have kept a copy of the transfer form, that the form was completely filled out at the time of sale and you have taken steps to insure the identity of the buyer.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

When drivers say 'show me the radar reading'

Tools to catch speeders

"I want to see the radar / laser reading!"

This was always a signal to me (as a police officer) that the traffic stop was going to be a difficult one. The demand for a printout of the radar reading was a similar request.

Depending on the tone of voice, it was often simpler to refuse outright and explain later on in traffic court, letting the justice be the referee.

In British Columbia, the police are not required to show radar or laser readings to the driver being ticketed. Further, I have never used a radar or laser that created any sort of printout to hand to the person receiving the ticket, and failing to do so will not make any difference to the case in traffic court.

When the request was a polite one, I would show the readout of the device and explain it. Often, I would also detail how the unit was tested for accuracy and then do the tests on the spot.

In the case of a tripod mounted laser, I would sometimes allow the driver an opportunity to use it themselves. This probably reduced the chance of a dispute because the person understood how their vehicle's speed had been measured.

It always seemed I either had not locked in a violator’s speed or had locked in a following vehicle's speed when the driver's tone was belligerent. No amount of explanation would satisfy the person that I couldn't recall their speed on the instrument after they had passed by and I had measured the vehicle behind them.

The sight of a blank display virtually guaranteed a dispute.

Rather than suffer prolonged verbal abuse, I would refuse and wait for court.

For evidence to the contrary, your own speedometer will be the source of the reading that is important to your defence. Testing to make sure that your speedometer is accurate immediately following the receipt of a speeding ticket will reinforce the importance of that reading.

Your GPS enabled dash cam may be of some assistance in traffic court as well. However, like your speedometer, you will need to be able to testify about the accuracy of the GPS. Presenting the video evidence will also require preparation for your trial.

The evidence that your vehicle's speed was above the speed limit when measured is what concerns the judge in traffic court.

Arguing the point that you were only doing 120 km/h in the posted 90 km/h zone, instead of the officer's alleged speed measurement of 130 km/h is simply agreeing you were speeding.

How much you exceeded the limit by is important for applying the penalty after conviction.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

When police break the rules of the road it must be justified

Police driving behaviour

I received this comment. “I want you to focus your writing on the driving behaviour of many police officers. I realize not all of them only follow the rules when it is convenient, but there is a significant number of them. Why don't they follow the traffic rules like the rest of us?”

I always held to the thought that if I couldn't follow the rule myself, I couldn't write a traffic ticket to someone else for that particular behaviour either.

Since I knew what the rules were, I expected my driving to be an example for others to follow, not to criticize. This is what the public expects from the police and members of the public are correct to complain when it is not delivered.

Operators of emergency vehicle may be exempt from following the rules set out in the Motor Vehicle Act in some cases. The exemption requires that the driver follow the Emergency Vehicle Driving Regulation when they do, and in general, must exercise due regard for safety.

Police must weigh the risk of harm to members of the public and be sure the risk from the exercise of those privileges is less than the risk of harm to members of the public should those privileges not be exercised.

This must be done using flashing emergency lights and a siren.

Depending on justification, the use of only flashing emergency lights or no lights and siren may also be possible. At an intersection with a red traffic light, they must stop and proceed only if safe. Neither of those exemptions apply at an intersection with a stop sign or in a school or playground zone.

Even though response without emergency equipment can be justified legally, the public cannot tell why it is being done and usually see it as an example of poor driving rather than a justified response. That is not always the case.

This cannot be justified when the officer is driving their own personal vehicle while off duty.

My policing career was in medium-sized detachments and that was not enough for anonymity. The public soon knew which officers followed the rules and which didn't, which is probably why this article was requested.

So, what to do? Make the same driving complaint you would for any other driver on our highways.

If the driving was justified, the supervisor should be able to find out why and provide an explanation. If not, police officers can be issued traffic tickets too.

Believe it or not, it has been done.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.


Moving licence plates not as simple as just using a screwdriver

Transfer of licence plates

Moving licence plates from one vehicle to another is not just a simple matter of being able to use a screwdriver.

Many people run into trouble when they try to move their plates to a substitute vehicle and don't do it properly. Of course, this could look like small change in retrospect if that person were to cause a collision before being discovered by police.

The first item on the list to check is whether the replacement vehicle is already registered in your name in British Columbia. If you answer yes to this one, you must do all the paperwork and then move the licence plates to the replacement vehicle. Ten days grace does not apply.

Next, do you have a fully completed transfer paper (APV9T) showing that the vehicle the licence plates are coming from has been sold or otherwise disposed of? If not, you must visit your Autoplan agent first, and then move the licence plates to the replacement vehicle.

Is the replacement vehicle in the same ICBC rate class as the original vehicle? The rate classes are:

• Motorcycle

• Passenger motor vehicle

• Trailer licensed under the Motor Vehicle Act

• Motor vehicle or trailer licensed under the Commercial Transport Act

If the vehicles are not in the same rate class the paperwork must be done and then the licence plates moved to the new vehicle.

Do you have a completed and signed APV9T and registration for the replacement vehicle if it is used, or a completed and signed APV9T and bill of sale if it is a new vehicle? If not, go directly to your Autoplan agent.

Do you have valid insurance for the vehicle being replaced, and are you carrying the insurance document with you? If not, you must visit the Autoplan agent first yet again.

Only if you have complied with all five of the items listed above can you shift the licence plates from one vehicle to the other and operate the replacement vehicle for 10 days from the day you obtained it before having to complete the transaction at an Autoplan agent.

Failing to follow the complete procedure exactly may put you at risk in two scenarios, police action at the roadside and legal liability.

The law considers your replacement vehicle to be unlicenced and uninsured if the transfer is not done properly. You could be liable to the fine, a tow and possibly seizure of the licence plates.

The obvious risk of legal liability is being denied insurance coverage post collision. However, that is not the only potential problem.

If the new owner does not complete the transfer, you are still considered to be the registered owner and are responsible for the vehicle.

Your fully completed copy of the APV9T is necessary to shift the onus onto the new owner.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

More Behind the Wheel articles

About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

To comment, please email

To learn more, visit DriveSmartBC

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories