Tag: section 160 motor vehicle act

Motorist Passing Left Hand Turning Vehicle Found 75% at Fault for Collision

Adding to this site’s archived case summaries addressing fault for motor vehicle collisions, reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, addressing liability for a collision which occurred when a motorist attempted to pass a left hand turning vehicle.

In last week’s case (Ekman v. Cook) the Plaintiff was operating a motorcycle.  The traffic ahead of him slowed to a near stop and he moved into the oncoming lane to pass the vehicles.  At the same time the Defendant commenced a left hand turn into her driveway.  Both motorists were found at fault with the Plaintiff shouldering 75% of the blame.  In reaching this decision Mr. Justice Weatherill provided the following reasons:
[76]         Ms. Cook knew she was driving slowly towing a horse trailer along a straight roadway where passing was permitted.  She ought reasonably to have been alive to the possibility of a passing vehicle.  She should have looked in her side mirror and done a shoulder check in a manner timely to the commencement of her left turn.  If it is true that Ms. Henry noticed weaving motorcycles and was concerned they were going to try to pass, so too should Ms. Cook have. 
[77]         Each of the plaintiff and Ms. Cook were obliged to ensure that their respective manoeuvre could be performed safely.  I find on the balance of probabilities that both the plaintiff and Ms. Cook failed to exercise the appropriate standard of care expected of them in the circumstances and was negligent and that their respective negligence caused the accident.  Each is partly liable for the accident.
[78]         I also find that, of the two of them, the plaintiff had the better opportunity to assess the circumstances and avoid the collision.  It should have been evident to him that the traffic ahead of him had slowed almost to a stop for a reason, including the possibility that a vehicle ahead of him was preparing to turn left.  The Truck/Trailer’s left turn signal should have been evident to him.  It is incumbent upon drivers who are uncertain as to what is going on ahead of them on a highway to proceed with caution when attempting to pass.  The plaintiff did not do so.
[79]         In my view, the appropriate apportionment of liability is 75% to the plaintiff and 25% to Ms. Cook.  The defendant William Joseph Cook is vicariously liable for Ms. Cook’s negligence by virtue of s. 86 of theMotor Vehicle Act.

The Dangers of Passing Vehicles Near Intersections

When a driver proceeds into the on-coming lane of travel to overtake another vehicle care must be taken.  This is particularly so near intersections.  Reasons for judgement were released yesterday by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver, Registry, addressing fault for a collision arising in such circumstances.
In yesterday’s case (Johel v. ICBC) the Plaintiff stopped at a stop sign.  She intended to make a left hand turn.  The vehicle approaching from her left was slowing and signalling intending to make a right hand turn.  The Plaintiff felt it was safe to proceed with her turn and entered the intersection.  At the same time the Defendant’s vehicle chose to pass the third party by entering the on-coming lane of travel.  A collision occurred.

(Accident Reconstruction Software courtesy of SmartDraw)
The Defendant fled leaving the Plaintiff with the remedy of suing ICBC under section 24 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act.  Ultimately Mr. Justice Bernard found the unidentified vehicle fully at fault for the crash.  In doing so the Court provided the following reasons for judgement:

[13] In the circumstances of the case at bar, the obligations of the plaintiff under the Act are found in ss. 165(2), 186, and 175(1).

[14] Section 165(2) applies to drivers making left turns at intersections where traffic is permitted to move in both directions on each highway entering the intersection. The provision sets out the obligations of a driver in such a situation. Section 186 obliges a driver approaching a stop sign to stop at the marked stop line. There is no evidence or suggestion that Ms Johel failed to comply with these rules of the road.

[15] Section 175(1) sets forth the obligations of a driver entering a through highway from a stop sign. The defendants say the plaintiff failed to yield, as required by this provision. Section 175(1) reads as follows:

175(1). If a vehicle that is about to enter a through highway has stopped in compliance with section 186,

(a) the driver of the vehicle must yield the right of way to traffic that has entered the intersection on the through highway or is approaching so closely on it that it constitutes an immediate hazard, and

(b) having yielded, the driver may proceed with caution.

[16] The statutory obligations of the defendants are found in ss. 155(1)(c), 157(1), 159, 160, and 175(2) of the Act.

[17] Section 155(1)(c) obliges a driver to drive to the right of a single line, broken or solid, except only when passing an overtaken vehicle. There is no evidence or suggestion that the defendant driver drove to the left of the solid yellow line except for the purpose of overtaking Mr. Lam.

[18] Section 157(1) sets forth the obligations of the overtaking vehicle vis-à-vis the overtaken vehicle. There is, again, no evidence or suggestion that the defendant driver did not comply with this rule.

[19] Sections 159 and 160 set forth the obligations of drivers passing on the left. They state as follows:

159. A driver of a vehicle must not drive to the left side of the roadway in overtaking and passing another vehicle unless the driver can do so in safety.

160. A driver of a vehicle must not drive to or on the left side of the roadway, other than on a one way highway, unless the driver has a clear view of the roadway for a safe distance, having regard for all the circumstances.

[20] Section 175(2) obliges a driver on a through highway to yield to a vehicle which has entered the highway in compliance with s. 175(1). The plaintiff says the defendant driver of the white car failed to yield, as required by this provision. Section 175(2) states as follows:

175(2). If a vehicle is entering a through highway in compliance with subsection (1), traffic approaching the intersection on the highway must yield the right of way to the entering vehicle while it is proceeding into or across the highway….

[29] Having regard to all the evidence and the positions of the parties, I find: (a) that Ms Johel was attentive and observant while stopped at the stop sign; (b) that Ms Johel proceeded with caution into the intersection and, at the time, the only traffic in her view was the car of Mr. Lam; (c) that the defendants’ white car was, at the time, to the left of Mr. Lam and, thus, hidden from Ms Johel’s view; and, (d) that at the time of collision, the white car was straddling the centre line and Ms Johel’s car was crossing it and heading slightly eastward.

[39] Having regard to all the foregoing, I conclude: (a) that when the defendant driver overtook Mr. Lam he or she did so in breach of ss. 159 and 160 of the Act; (b) that the defendant driver failed to meet the requisite standard of care; and (c) that the defendants are solely at fault for the collision.

Plaintiff At Fault in Fatal Tractor Trailer Collision for Running Stop Sign

Reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, dealing with the issue of fault following a two vehicle collision.
In last week’s case (Rackstraw v. Robertson) the Plaintiff was involved in a collision with a tractor trailer.  The tractor trailer was travelling Northbound on Mount Lehman Road.  The Plaintiff was travelling eastbound on Sunset Crescent which forms a T-intersection with Mount Lehman Road.

The Defendant “decided to pass a northbound vehicle ahead of him”.   To do so he accelerated above the speed limit and had to travel in the southbound lane.  As he did so he saw the Plaintiff approach the intersection and run the stop sign which was facing him on Sunset Crescent.  The vehicles collided and the Plaintiff died shortly after.
Ultimately the Plaintiff was found fully at fault for the collision.  In reaching this conclusion Madam Justice Fisher provided the following reasons:
[25] Mr. Rackstraw owed a duty of care to other drivers travelling on Mount Lehman Road, in particular Mr. Robertson.  He breached that duty by failing to stop at the stop sign, failing to keep a proper lookout and failing to yield to the Robertson vehicle when he entered the roadway on Mount Lehman Road.  Mr. Rackstraw was the servient driver at all times…
[32] …. the fact that Robertson was travelling over the speed limit will only constitute negligence if his speed is what prevented him from taking reasonable evasive action: see Cooper v. Garrett, 2009 BCSC 35 at para. 42.  In my view, there is no evidence which establishes that Robertson’s speed prevented him from doing so. His truck was just about at the intersection when he first saw Rackstraw’s vehicle, and only his trailer, or part of it, was still in the southbound lane when the impact occurred…
[37]it is my opinion that the accident in the case at bar was caused solely by the failure of Mr. Rackstraw to stop at the stop sign, to keep a proper lookout and to yield to the Robertson vehicle when he entered the roadway on Mount Lehman Road.  When Robertson started his pass, there was no reason for him to believe that he could not do so safely or that he would interfere with the travel of another vehicle.  As in Ferguson, he was engaged in a lawful manoeuvre.  He did not see, and could not reasonably have seen, the Rackstraw vehicle until he was just about at the intersection and he had no reasonable opportunity to avoid the collision.

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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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