Motorist Faulted For Crash After Driving Too Fast In Foggy Conditions
Reasons for judgment were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Kamloops Registry, assessing fault for a fatal collision which occurred during foggy conditions.
In today’s case (Roy v. McGinnis) the Plaintiff was driving a motor home which had stopped at a T intersection approaching a highway. The Plaintiff attempted to turn left on the highway. The area was covered in dense fog and visibility was poor. The Plaintiff failed to appreciate that the Defendant was travelling down the highway as the Plaintiff entered the intersection. Both motorists were found equally to blame for the crash, the Plaintiff for entering an intersection when it was unsafe to do so and the Defendant for failing to drive safely given the conditions. In reaching a conclusion of equal blame Mr. Justice Groves provided the following reasons:
 I conclude that on November 25, 2004, by operating his loaded tandem truck at a speed of at least 90 to 100 km/h when the visibility was limited to less than 100 feet due to dense fog, such that an operator driving reasonably for the road conditions would more likely have driven at close to 50 km/h, the defendant operated his vehicle in a negligent manner in that he breached the standard of care established by s. 144(1) of the Motor Vehicle Act by operating a vehicle at an excessive speed considering the visibility and weather conditions. I further conclude that this negligence was at least a partial cause of the accident in that, but for the unreasonable and excessive speed at which McGinnis was operating his vehicle, McGinnis could have avoided the impact with Roy’s vehicle, just as Smith had avoided impact when travelling at 50 km/h.
 In so concluding, I note the defendant’s argument and supporting case law that, as a servient driver turning into a lane where the defendant had a right of way, the plaintiff bears the onus of proving that a reasonable and skillful driver would have had sufficient opportunity to avoid a collision (Walker v. Brownlee and Harmon,  2 D.L.R. 450 at 461). Here the collision occurred over a very short period of time; however, I have found above that a reasonable driver would have been travelling much slower and so would have had more time to perceive the danger. I therefore find that the plaintiff has met his burden of proving that a reasonable and skillful driver would have had a sufficient opportunity to avoid the collision.
 I also find that the plaintiff was negligent…
 As such, I conclude that the plaintiff was negligent in that he failed to comply with s. 175(1) of the Motor Vehicle Act, when he entered a through highway and in doing so failed to exercise appropriate caution and to yield the right of way to traffic, traffic which was so close so as to constitute an immediate hazard.
 However, based on the evidence before me, I cannot draw any particular conclusion as to the relative level of negligence of these two negligent drivers. Better put perhaps, I cannot conclude based on the evidence before me which driver was more negligent. On the one hand, the plaintiff was clearly the servient driver, but on the other hand, the defendant was, I find on the evidence which I accept, driving at a speed far in excess of what would have been safe for the road and weather conditions he encountered on that day.
 As such, relying on s. 1(2) of the Negligence Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 333, I apportion liability between the plaintiff and defendant equally. As such, the defendant is 50% responsible for the damages resulting from the accident and the plaintiff is 50% responsible for the damages resulting from the accident.