Legal Principles For Left Turning Motorists at T-Intersections Discussed by BC Supreme Court


Last week reasons for judgment were released in a case discussing applicable legal principles when motorists are involved in left hand turn collisions.
In last week’s case (Burgess v. Fisher) the litigants were involved in a 2 vehicle collision in Vernon, BC.  The Crash occurred when the Defendant vehicle left a stop sign and attempted to make a left hand turn at a through roadway.  To complete the turn the Defendant had to first clear two westbound lanes.  The curb westbound lane approaching the Defendant vehicle was full of cars and limited the defendants view of vehicles in the inner westbound lane.  The Plaintiff vehicle was travelling in this inner westbound lane.  As the Defendant vehicle entered the inner westbound lane the collision occurred.  There was evidence that the Plaintiff vehicle in the westbound lane was speeding, although not significantly, at the time of the collision.
Both motorists said the other was to blame.  Mr. Justice Barrow, before addressing the issue of fault, succinctly discussed the governing legal principles for these types of cases.  He summarized the law as follows:

[17] Section 175(1) of the Motor Vehicle Act provides that the driver stopped at a stop sign must, before entering an intersection, yield to through or crossing traffic that has either entered the intersection on the through road or “is approaching so closely on it that it constitutes an immediate hazard”. Similar language is found in s. 174 which governs left turns at intersections. It provides that left turning vehicles must yield the right of way to approaching traffic that is “in the intersection or so close as to constitute an immediate hazard”.

[18] In Rae v. Thorpe, [1963] 43 W.W.R. 405 (B.C.C.A.), Tysoe J.A. considered the meaning of “immediate hazard” in the context of s. 164 (the predecessor of the current s. 174). Although he did not attempt to exhaustively define the phrase, he wrote at para. 18 that:

…if an approaching car is so close to the intersection when a driver attempts to make a left turn that a collision threatens unless there be some violent or sudden avoiding action on the part of the driver of the approaching car, the approaching car is an “immediate hazard” within the meaning of sec. 164.

The point at which the determination of whether the through travelling motor vehicle is an immediate hazard is the moment before the serviant vehicle begins to encroach on the through vehicle’s lane of travel (Rae at para. 25).

[19] Ballance J. adopted both of the foregoing propositions in Hynna in the context of s. 175 of the Motor Vehicle Act. In addition, she distilled two further principles applicable to the analysis required by s. 175 from Keen v. Stene, [1964] 44 D.L.R. (2d) 350 (B.C.C.A.). In that case, Davey J.A. wrote at para. 46 that:

…A driver waiting at a stop sign ought not to enter a through street unless it is clear that oncoming traffic does not constitute an immediate hazard. Excessive refinement of what traffic is an immediate hazard will defeat the purpose of the right?of?way regulations contained in s. 165 [ now s. 175], and make them an inadequate and confusing method of regulating traffic at intersections on through streets.

Sheppard J.A., in a separate concurring judgment, made the point that the hazard to which the section is directed extends to the threat of collision as opposed to simply a collision itself.

[20] One final general principle applicable to the analysis comes from the frequently quoted observation of Cartwright J. in Walker v. Brownlee, [1952] 2 D.L.R. 450 (S.C.C.). There, at p. 461, he wrote:

…when A, the driver in the servient position, proceeds through an intersection in complete disregard of his statutory duty to yield the right?of?way and a collision results, if he seeks to cast any portion of the blame upon B, the driver having the right?of?way, A must establish that after B became aware, or by the exercise of reasonable care should have become aware, of A’s disregard of the law B had in fact a sufficient opportunity to avoid the accident of which a reasonably careful and skilful driver would have availed himself; and I do not think that in such circumstances any doubts should be resolved in favour of A, whose unlawful conduct was fons et origo mali.

[21] Whether a through travelling vehicle constitutes an immediate hazard to a crossing or left turning vehicle is a function of at least two things: how far away the through travelling vehicle is from the intersection and how fast it is travelling. Both of these are matters that the servient driver must estimate before entering the intersection. In making those estimates, the servient driver is entitled to assume, in the absence of evidence suggesting otherwise, that crossing or approaching vehicles will observe and obey the rules of the road.

The Court went on to hold that the left turning vehicle was entirely at fault for the crash despite the evidence that the Plaintiff vehicle was speeding.  In coming to this decision Mr. Justice Barrow held as follows:

[32] The law obliged Mr. Karol to either remain at the stop sign or at least not to proceed into the westbound lane of through traffic on 43rd Avenue unless he could determine that approaching in that lane did not pose an immediate hazard. In order to make that determination, he had to be able to see far enough down the westbound lane to determine whether approaching traffic travelling at or near the speed limit would pose an immediate hazard. The hazard, it is to be recalled, is not just a collision but the immanent prospect of one…

[38] Returning to the matter at hand, as noted, Mr. Karol had a limited view of on?coming dominant traffic. Both he and Ms. Faucher testified that the Fisher vehicle was 10 or 15 feet away when they first saw it. I accept that their attention was focused on the through westbound lane of traffic. Neither formed an opinion as to its speed based on observations made prior to the impact. Further, Mr. Karol did nothing to avoid the accident, not because he was not paying attention or failed to appreciate the collision before it happened but because he had no time. His obligation was to assume that through traffic would be proceeding at least at the speed limit. Even if he could see more than 10 or 15 feet into that lane when he proceeded to encroach on it, I am satisfied that he could not see much further than that. He could not see far enough to assess whether he would pose an immediate hazard to traffic travelling at or near the speed limit. He was, therefore, negligent.

[39] The next issue is whether Ms. Fisher was also negligent. Mr. Karol has the onus of establishing that on a balance of probabilities. The question turns not on whether, had she been driving the speed limit, the accident would not have happened because she would not have been there, but rather on whether a reasonable driver, that is, one driving the speed limit, would have had a sufficient opportunity to observe the encroaching vehicle and taken the necessary evasive action.

[40] I am not satisfied that Mr. Karol has established negligence on the part of Ms. Fisher. I accept that she was speeding but not markedly or excessively so. More to the point, I am satisfied that she was so close to the intersection when Mr. Karol encroached on her lane of travel that, even had she been travelling at or near the speed limit, the opportunity she would have had to take evasive action was not such that, with exercise of reasonable skill, the collision would have been avoided.

Burgess v. Fisher, fault, Law for Left turning vehicles, Left Hand Turning Accidents, Left Hand Turns, liability cases, Mr. Justice Barrow, T-Intersections

Comments (61)

  • I just want to say I’m very new to blogs and absolutely enjoyed this blog. Probably I’m planning to bookmark your blog post . You certainly have impressive articles. With thanks for revealing your website.

  • Thank you for the sensible critique. Me & my neighbor were just preparing to do some research about this. We got a grab a book from our local library but I think I learned more clear from this post. I’m very glad to see such magnificent information being shared freely out there.

  • I’m really enjoying the theme/design of your web site. Do you ever run into any browser compatibility problems? A couple of my blog audience have complained about my blog not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Firefox. Do you have any recommendations to help fix this issue?

  • Fantastic goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you are just too wonderful. I really like what you’ve acquired here, certainly like what you’re saying and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still care for to keep it smart. I can not wait to read far more from you. This is really a great web site.

  • Great goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you’re just too excellent. I really like what you have acquired here, certainly like what you’re saying and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still care for to keep it wise. I can not wait to read much more from you. This is really a great website.

  • Hello, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog site in Chrome, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, great blog!

  • I have been absent for some time, but now I remember why I used to love this blog. Thank you, I’ll try and check back more often. How frequently you update your website?

  • You really make it appear so easy along with your presentation but I in finding this topic to be actually something which I believe I might by no means understand. It sort of feels too complicated and extremely extensive for me. I am having a look forward in your next post, I will attempt to get the hold of it!

  • I’m impressed, I have to say. Really rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me inform you, you will have hit the nail on the head. Your thought is outstanding; the problem is something that not sufficient people are speaking intelligently about. I’m very glad that I stumbled throughout this in my search for something relating to this.

  • Today, I went to the beach with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had to tell someone!

  • Can I simply say what a reduction to search out someone who actually knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You positively know easy methods to bring an issue to light and make it important. More individuals need to learn this and perceive this aspect of the story. I cant consider youre not more common since you definitely have the gift.

  • Good – I should definitely pronounce, impressed with your web site. I had no trouble navigating through all the tabs as well as related info ended up being truly simple to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it at all. Reasonably unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or anything, website theme . a tones way for your client to communicate. Excellent task.

  • Hey, you used to write great, but the last few posts have been kinda boring… I miss your tremendous writings. Past several posts are just a bit out of track! come on!

  • There are some fascinating cut-off dates on this article but I donít know if I see all of them middle to heart. There is some validity but I will take maintain opinion till I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we wish extra! Added to FeedBurner as well

  • Hiya very cool web site!! Man .. Beautiful .. Amazing .. I will bookmark your web site and take the feeds additionally…I am satisfied to seek out so many useful info here within the submit, we want work out more techniques on this regard, thanks for sharing.

  • I like the valuable information you provide in your articles. I’ll bookmark your blog and check again here frequently. I am quite sure I will learn many new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!

  • Thanks for expressing your ideas. I might also like to state that video games have been actually evolving. Better technology and innovative developments have aided create authentic and enjoyable games. These kinds of entertainment video games were not that sensible when the real concept was first of all being used. Just like other areas of technologies, video games too have had to progress by way of many years. This itself is testimony towards fast progression of video games.

  • I’m impressed, I have to say. Actually not often do I encounter a weblog that’s each educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you’ve gotten hit the nail on the head. Your idea is excellent; the issue is one thing that not sufficient persons are talking intelligently about. I’m very comfortable that I stumbled across this in my search for one thing regarding this.

  • Thanks for the tips shared using your blog. Another thing I would like to mention is that weight reduction is not information about going on a dietary fads and trying to shed as much weight as possible in a couple of days. The most effective way to burn fat is by consuming it slowly and obeying some basic suggestions which can help you to make the most through your attempt to slim down. You may understand and already be following some tips, nevertheless reinforcing expertise never affects.

  • Thank you, I’ve just been searching for information approximately this subject for a while and yours is the greatest I’ve discovered till now. But, what about the conclusion? Are you positive concerning the source?

  • Hey very cool blog!! Guy .. Beautiful .. Superb .. I’ll bookmark your web site and take the feeds also…I am happy to seek out numerous helpful information here in the post, we’d like develop extra strategies in this regard, thanks for sharing.

  • you’re really a good webmaster. The site loading speed is incredible. It seems that you’re doing any unique trick. Moreover, The contents are masterwork. you’ve done a great job on this topic!

  • What i don’t realize is in truth how you’re now not actually a lot more neatly-preferred than you may be now. You are very intelligent. You already know thus significantly in the case of this matter, made me in my opinion believe it from numerous various angles. Its like men and women are not fascinated until it is something to accomplish with Girl gaga! Your own stuffs great. Always deal with it up!

  • One important issue is that if you are searching for a education loan you may find that you will want a cosigner. There are many conditions where this is correct because you should find that you do not have a past credit score so the mortgage lender will require you have someone cosign the credit for you. Thanks for your post.

  • One thing I would really like to reply to is that fat reduction plan fast may be accomplished by the right diet and exercise. People’s size not simply affects appearance, but also the actual quality of life. Self-esteem, depression, health risks, and physical skills are disturbed in extra weight. It is possible to just make everything right and still gain. If this happens, a problem may be the offender. While too much food instead of enough body exercise are usually at fault, common medical ailments and widely used prescriptions can easily greatly add to size. Many thanks for your post right here.

  • I have been exploring for a little bit for any high-quality articles or blog posts on this sort of house . Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this website. Studying this information So i’m happy to exhibit that I’ve a very just right uncanny feeling I discovered exactly what I needed. I so much for sure will make sure to do not put out of your mind this site and give it a look regularly.

  • certainly like your web site but you have to check the spelling on quite a few of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling problems and I find it very troublesome to inform the truth nevertheless I will definitely come again again.

  • An additional issue is really that video gaming became one of the all-time largest forms of fun for people of every age group. Kids play video games, and adults do, too. Your XBox 360 is just about the favorite video games systems for folks who love to have a huge variety of video games available to them, and also who like to play live with other folks all over the world. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

  • An added important part is that if you are a mature person, travel insurance for pensioners is something you ought to really consider. The elderly you are, the more at risk you will be for permitting something poor happen to you while abroad. If you are not necessarily covered by several comprehensive insurance policy, you could have a number of serious challenges. Thanks for revealing your ideas on this web site.

  • After research just a few of the weblog posts in your website now, and I actually like your approach of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark web site record and might be checking again soon. Pls check out my web site as effectively and let me know what you think.

  • Thanks for any other fantastic article. Where else may anybody get that type of info in such a perfect approach of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am on the search for such information.

  • What i do not realize is if truth be told how you’re now not actually a lot more well-favored than you may be now. You are very intelligent. You already know therefore considerably in relation to this subject, made me for my part imagine it from numerous varied angles. Its like men and women are not fascinated unless it is something to do with Lady gaga! Your individual stuffs great. Always maintain it up!

  • Hello would you mind letting me know which webhost you’re working with? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely different web browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most. Can you recommend a good web hosting provider at a reasonable price? Cheers, I appreciate it!

  • Does your blog have a contact page? I’m having trouble locating it but, I’d like to shoot you an e-mail. I’ve got some suggestions for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great site and I look forward to seeing it expand over time.

Comments are closed.

Contact

If you would like further information or require assistance, please get in touch.

ERIK
MAGRAKEN

Personal Injury Lawyer

When not writing the BC Injury Law Blog, Erik is the managing partner at MacIsaac & Company, based in Victoria, B.C. He is also involved with combative sports regulatory issues and authors the Combat Sports Law Blog.

“Work hard, be kind and enjoy the ride!”
Erik’s Philosophy

Disclaimer