The Standard of Care When Driving Near Children
We all know that children can be unpredictable. As such motorists have to take special precaution when driving by pedestrian children. The standard of what is safe will be stricter in these situations and reasons for judgement were released this week discussing this legal principle.
In this week’s case (Johnson v. Eyre) the 7 year old Plaintiff, who was riding his bike, was struck by the Defendant’s motor vehicle and sustained injuries. Ultimately the lawsuit was dismissed because the Court found that “(the Defendant) simply could not avoid striking (the Plaintiff)…The collision occurred because the youths turned…into the path of the (defendant) vehicle…(the Defendant) took appropriate evasive action in the little time he had to react.”
Before dismissing the claim, however, Mr. Justice Greyell did a good job summarizing the standard of care motorists should exercise when driving by children. The below quote is a useful summary of this area of personal injury law:
 The plaintiff relies on the following passage in Bourne v. Anderson, 27 M.V.R. (3d) 63 where Hood J. said at para 55:
55 In my opinion, once the presence of a child or children on a road is known, or should have been known, to the driver of a vehicle proceeding through a residential area where children live, that driver must take special precautions for the safety of the child or children seen, and any other child or children yet unseen whose possible appearance or entrance onto the road is reasonably foreseeable. The precautions include keeping a sharp look out, perhaps sounding the horn, but more importantly, immediately reducing the speed of the vehicle so as to be able to take evasive actions if required.
This passage was cited with approval by the Court of Appeal in Hixon v. Roberts, 2004 BCCA 335.