Left Hand Turner Found 100% At Fault for Intersection Crash on Fresh Amber

Reasons for judgement were released recently by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, addressing fault for an intersection crash involving a left hand turning vehicle and a through driver.
In the recent case (Andrews v. Mainster) the parties were driving in opposite direction on 16th Avenue in Vancouver, BC.  Ms. Andrews attempted to drive through the intersection. Of 16th and Fir.  The light turned amber as Ms. Andrews was about one car length away.  At the same time the motorist in the opposite lane of travel, who was already committed in the in the intersection, attempted to turn left resulting in collision.  Both parties sued each other.  In finding the turning motorist fully at fault Mr. Justice Masuhara provided the following reasons:

[30] It was dry and sunny at the time of the accident. Ms. Mainster had a clear and unobstructed view up West 16th to Granville Street. Ms. Andrews was not driving at an excessive speed on West 16th. Rather, she was driving at a normal speed approximately 45 km/h.

[31] I find that Ms. Mainster had proceeded into the intersection beyond the westside crosswalk and was waiting for traffic to pass through.

[32] More likely than not, Ms. Andrews was talking to Mr. Priolo just prior to the accident and that Ms. Andrews’ head was turned somewhat towards Mr. Priolo.

[33] I also find that Ms. Mainster turned left into the lane of oncoming traffic at the time the light for traffic on West 16th turned yellow. I also find at this same time Ms. Andrews’ car was within a car length of the intersection.  Ms. Andrews was the dominant driver relative to Ms. Mainster.

[34] I find that Ms. Andrews’ vehicle constituted an “immediate hazard”. I find that Ms. Mainster did not “yield” and that she did not become the dominant driver.

[35] I find that the collision occurred in the intersection closer to the crosswalk on the west side of the intersection than in the middle of the intersection.

[36] I note that Ms. Mainster agreed that if she would have looked eastward that she should have been able to see the red Mazda and could not explain why she did not see it. Ms. Mainster said that it was just a brief moment between the time the front of her car had just moved to turn and the collision. The first time she saw the Mazda was at the time of the collision. The theory that Ms. Andrews must have been travelling excessively and if seen initially would have been at the eastern end of West 16th (closer to Granville) has not been made out. As a result, Ms. Mainster in not seeing the Andrews’ car was not paying proper attention to oncoming traffic.  She did not meet the standard of care of a driver in her circumstances.

[37] Though, Ms. Andrews had her head somewhat turned toward Mr. Priolo in conversation as she was driving towards the intersection just before the collision, I do not find that she had taken her eyes off the road in front of her. I also do not find that Ms. Andrews had a duty to anticipate that Ms. Mainster would move into her lane when she did.  In any event, the proximity of the two vehicles was such that when Ms. Mainster moved into the lane of oncoming traffic that Ms. Andrews would have been unable to take sufficient action to avoid the collision.

[38] In the circumstances, I find Ms. Mainster to be entirely liable for the accident.

Andrews v. Mainster, bc injury law, Mr. Justice Masuhara, section 128 motor vehicle act, section 144 motor vehicle act, Section 174 Motor Vehicle Act

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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.

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