Tag: Section 174 Motor Vehicle Act

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.

Cyclist Found 50% at Fault For Crash After Passing Vehicle on the Right

Further to my recent article on this topic, cyclists passing a stopped vehicle on the right can be faulted for a resulting collision.  This was demonstrated in reasons for judgement released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry.
In this week’s case (Kimber v. Wong) the Plaintiff cyclist was approaching a T intersection.  A vehicle was stopped in his lane of travel leaving a gap for the Defendant who was driving in the opposite direction intending to make a left hand turn.  The Cyclist passed the stopped vehicle on the right.  At the sane time the Defendant turned resulting in collision.

Mr. Justice Pearlman found both parties equally to blame for the incident.  In doing so the Court provided the following reasons:

[66] By passing to the right of the stopped eastbound vehicles, Mr. Kimber put himself in a position where he was not visible to a left-turning driver and where his own view of traffic turning across his path was blocked by the vehicles to his left.

[67] The plaintiff maintains that he was the dominant driver with the right of way as he approached the intersection and that under s. 174 of the Motor Vehicle Act, and that Ms. Wong, as the servient driver intending to turn left, was required to yield the right of way to him.

[68] As Madam Justice Ballance observed in Henry v. Bennett, 2011 BCSC 1254 at para. 73:

The dominant/servient driver analysis in Walker is predicated on the footing that the dominant driver has proceeded lawfully …

[69] Here, that analysis does not apply where Mr. Kimber was in breach of s. 158 of the Motor Vehicle Act and his common law duty to take reasonable care by keeping a proper lookout.

[70] However, that does not absolve Ms. Wong from liability.  Ms. Wong made the left turn knowing cyclists using the oncoming lane often rode to the right of vehicles.  She knew she had to keep a lookout and would have to yield to any oncoming traffic, including cyclists that presented an immediate hazard.

[71] She began her turn from a point where she was unable to see beyond the windshield of the vehicle stopped at the western entrance to the intersection.   She made a continuous accelerating turn and did not stop or pause when she reached the point, just across the centre line, where she had a sight-line that would have enabled her to see the plaintiff.  Had she inched forward or stopped when she had a clear sight-line, the plaintiff would have passed safely in front of her and the accident would have been avoided.

[72] I find that in heavy traffic and where her view of the eastbound lane was limited, Ms. Wong was negligent in failing to inch forward until she could see whether there was an obstacle to her safely completing her left-hand turn.

[73] I turn now to consider whether the plaintiff was contributorily negligent.  As he passed stopped traffic on the right, Mr. Kimber ought to have been alert to the potential danger.  He failed to keep a proper lookout before entering the intersection.  He failed to take reasonable care for his own safety or that of other road users.  Here, the plaintiff could have pulled into the line of slow moving or stopped vehicles and then taken his turn to pass through the intersection.  Alternatively, the plaintiff ought to have been alert to the danger of passing stopped traffic at the intersection and ought to have brought his cycle to a stop to the right of the red Hyundai where he could observe traffic turning into the intersection.  Had he done so the collision would have been avoided.  I find that the plaintiff was also negligent and that his negligence was a cause of the accident.

[74] The apportionment of liability requires a consideration of the degree to which each party is at fault.  Fault is apportioned on the basis of the nature and extent of the departure from the respective standards of care of each of the parties:  Cempel v. Harrison Hot Springs, [1997] B.C.J. No. 2853 at para. 24 (B.C.C.A.).

[75] Here, the plaintiff and the defendant were both familiar with the intersection where the accident occurred.  For her part, the defendant was aware of the risk of cyclists approaching to the right of oncoming eastbound traffic but made her left turn without maintaining a proper lookout for a known risk.

[76] For his part, the plaintiff ought to have slowed down and entered the line of eastbound vehicles before passing through the intersection, or if he remained to the right of the line of stopped vehicles, he ought to have stopped alongside the stationary Hyundai before proceeding into the intersection, where he would have had an unobstructed view of the hazard ahead.

[77] In my view, the plaintiff and the defendant are equally at fault.  I apportion liability 50 percent to each of the plaintiff and the defendant.

Driver Found 10% At Fault for Timing a Green Light


As previously discussed, having the right of way does not automatically result in a driver being found faultless for a collision.  Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, demonstrating this.
In this week’s case (Matheson v. Fichten) the Plaintiff was a passenger in a Northbound vehicle in a designated left hand turn lane.  The advance green arrow ran its course resulting in a green light for North and south bound traffic.  The driver proceeded with his turn despite no longer having the advance green arrow.
At the same time the Defendant was driving Southbound in the curb lane.  He was several car lengths back from the intersection when his light turned green.  Other Southbound vehicles began to accelerate but then stopped realizing the Plaintiff vehicle was turning.  The Defendant did not stop and entered the intersection when the collision occurred.
Despite having the right of way the Southbound Defendant was found 10% at fault for the collision.  In coming to this assessment Madam Justice Smith provided the following reasons for judgement:
[57] I find that the Bahniwal vehicle was travelling at the speed limit of 50 kilometres per hour, or perhaps a bit less, as it proceeded up the southbound curb lane.  I accept Mr. Kaler’s evidence that Mr. Bahniwal had slowed when the light ahead was red, but then resumed speed after the light turned green, two to three car lengths from the intersection.  I find that the presence of vehicles in the two lanes to his left obscured Mr. Bahniwal’s view of what was occurring in the intersection except for the portion immediately in front of him.  The vehicles in the two lanes to Mr. Bahniwal’s left began to move forward, but they stopped almost immediately.  Mr. Bahniwal overtook those vehicles and passed them on the right, entering the intersection on a green light but without noting that the vehicles to his left had stopped, or taking any particular precaution before entering the intersection…

[61] I have found as fact that Mr. Bahniwal proceeded through the intersection on a green light.  Accordingly, he had the right of way.  His was the dominant vehicle; Mr. Fichten’s vehicle was in the servient position.

[62] The question in the end is whether either Mr. Fichten or Mr. Bahniwal  or both, was in breach of the duty of care he owed to the plaintiff.  I take into account the Motor Vehicle Act provisions as informing the requisite standard of care (Ryan v. Victoria, [1999] 1 S.C.R. 201 at para. 29).

[63] It is clear that Mr. Fichten was negligent in making his left turn when it was unsafe to do so after the light had changed, and in particular by crossing the curb lane of southbound traffic without checking that it was free of oncoming vehicles.

[64] Turning to Mr. Bahniwal, what is the duty of a driver who enters an intersection in the circumstances that faced him?  He was in the curb lane, his view of the intersection was blocked by other vehicles, and those vehicles, having entered the intersection, had subsequently stopped…

[78] In my opinion, when the light facing Mr. Bahniwal turned green and the vehicles on his left proceeded forward and then stopped, Mr. Bahniwal had the opportunity to recognize, and should have recognized, that something had caused them to stop.  His approach into the intersection should then have been tempered with caution, even though he had the light in his favour and had built up some momentum.  He did not take that approach but, instead, proceeded at the speed limit into the intersection.  His vehicle was in the dominant position, but he was not entitled to overlook a clear indication of a possible hazard in the fact that the vehicles to his left had stopped very soon after having begun to move.  The traffic was not backed up in the southbound lanes, as it was inRobinson v. Wong, and the timing of the vehicles stopping was inexplicable from his vantage point.  A careful driver would have reacted to the possibility that a left-turning vehicle, a pedestrian, or some other hazard was still in the intersection.

[79] I find that Mr. Bahniwal was in breach of his duty of care, and allocate liability 10% to him and 90% to Mr. Fichten.

Driver Faultless for Intersection Crash Despite Turning Left on Red

A reality at busy intersections is that drivers, after committing to an intersection on a green light, sometimes need to wait until the light turns red to complete their turn.  If a crash occurs in these circumstances a driver can (depending on the specific facts of course) be found faultess for the collision.  Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, dealing with such a scenario.
In this week’s case (Yanakami v. Whittey) the Plaintiff was attempting a left hand turn.  She committed to the intersection.  After her light turned red vehicles in two of the three oncoming lanes came to a stop.  At this time she proceeded to complete her turn.  The Defendant, who was travelling in the third oncoming lane, ran the red light and a collision occurred.

Mr. Justice Fitch found the Defendant fully at fault for the crash.  In doing so the Court provided the following reasons:

[62] Against the background of this discussion, I make the following factual findings:

1. the plaintiff began her left turn immediately after the light for east and westbound traffic changed to red;

2. two other vehicles traveling east had come to a stop at the intersection in the curb and centre-line lanes;

3. the plaintiff was cognizant of, and attentive to, the considerations one would expect to be in the mind of a reasonably prudent driver including the colour of the traffic light, the location and speed of oncoming traffic, the location of Mr. Whittey’s vehicle at various points in time, including when the light turned red, and the potential for there to be pedestrians walking to the south in her intended path of travel;

4. Mr. Whittey had ample time to stop before the intersection and do so in safety, just as two other eastbound vehicles had done, when the light changed to yellow;

5. the plaintiff concluded, and was entitled in fact and in law to conclude, that the defendant’s vehicle did not present a hazard, that he had plenty of time stop (as other vehicles had done) and that it was safe for her to proceed with her left turn;

6. the defendant was not being attentive to the factors a reasonably prudent driver would have been attentive to before the collision, including the presence of the plaintiff’s vehicle in the westbound left turn lane immediately in front of him or the fact  that a car had already come to a stop ahead of him in the eastbound centre-line lane. This conclusion is supported by the defendant’s own admission that he was not looking at the left turn lane for westbound traffic as he approached the intersection because it was not important for him to do so;

7. Mr. Whittey entered the intersection after the light turned red;

8. the plaintiff could not possibly have taken evasive action at that point to avoid the collision.

[63] Applying these facts to the applicable law, I am satisfied that this accident was caused solely by the negligent driving of the defendant, Mr. Whittey.

Motorist 50% at Fault for Crash After Entering Intersection on Late Amber

Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, addressing fault for a common type of intersection crash; one involving a left-hand turning vehicle and a through driver.
In this week’s case (McPherson v. Lange) the Defendant was travelling Northbound on Canada Way in Burnaby, BC.  The Defendant was intending to make a left hand turn.  (Defendant’s view depicted in below photo)

At the same time the Plaintiff was travelling in the on-coming southbound lane.  The Defendant committed to the intersection and waited to turn.  After the light turned amber she began her turn.  The Plaintiff drove through on a late amber light and the collision occurred.  In finding both parties equally to blame Mr. Justice Armstrong provided the following reasons:

[40] Based on Ms. Lange’s and Mr. Enns’ description of the events leading up to the accident, I have concluded that she stopped before entering the intersection, entered the intersection and stopped again. She proceeded on the amber light, and erroneoulsy believed that she had sufficient time to complete her turn without contributing to a risk of collision with the oncoming McPherson vehicle. She did not see the McPherson van before making her decision to proceed with her left turn and did not look again or see him as she started to travel through the balance of the intersection.

[41] It also appears to me that when she first saw the McPherson van some distance from the intersection, she misjudged the speed and/or distance of the vehicle. She did not express any expectation that Mr. McPherson would be able to stop or would stop before colliding with her…

[45] Section 128 of the MVA required Mr. McPherson to stop his vehicle unless the stop could not be made safely. He could not suggest or explain why he could not have stopped his vehicle safely in the time between the appearance of the amber light and the impact. He did not say he was too close to the intersection to bring his vehicle to a stop or that there were any other circumstances that would have prevented him from stopping his van. It is clear that his light was amber for 4.5 seconds and that he entered the intersection towards the end of that 4.5 second time. I conclude the McPherson vehicle had time to stop safely without entering the intersection. This is corroborated by the testimony of Mr. Melin who was in the lane to Mr. McPherson’s right. Mr. Melin said that he had ample time to stop and was surprised that Mr. McPherson sped past him after the light turned amber. I also find on the evidence that Mr. McPherson did have enough time to stop before the light turned to red, and in choosing not to do so, he created a significant danger.

[46] In my view Mr. McPherson did not drive prudently and his failure to stop his vehicle before entering the intersection was a breach of his duty to Ms. Lange. Mr. McPherson admits that his negligence contributed to the accident but he argues that Ms. Lange is also contributorily negligent…

[49] The tension between the obligations of the left-turning driver and the through driver are difficult to resolve. It is clear from Morgan, Mitchell and Tejani that the left-turning driver has an obligation to keep a lookout for a vehicle obviously headed into the intersection in disregard for the traffic signal…

[54] I cannot measure the differing degrees of fault between both the plaintiff and defendant and accordingly, I apportion liability at 50% against Mr. McPherson and 50% against Ms. Lange.

Left Hand Turning Vehicle Found Faultess for Intersection Crash

Motorists are entitled to commit to an intersection and wait until its safe to proceed prior to making a left hand turn.  If the light turns red prior to a safe moment arriving it is appropriate for a motorist to wait that long prior to completing their turn.  In such circumstances a turning motorist can be found fully faultless if a collision occurs which was demonstrated in reasons for judgement released last month by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry.
In last month’s case (Henry v. Bennett) the Defendant was driving NorthBound on King George intending to make a left hand turn on 68th Avenue.  At the same time the Plaintiff was travelling Southbound on King George intending to drive through the intersection.

The Court found that the Defendant entered the intersection on a green light.  She waited for a gap in traffic.  The light eventually turned amber and then red.   Southbound traffic visible to the Plaintiff stopped.  She began her turn when the Plaintiff came through the intersection and the collision occurred.  The Plaintiff sued for damages but the claim was dismissed with the Court finding him fully at fault for entering the intersection on a red light when it was unsafe to do so.  In finding the Defendant faultless Madam Justice Ballance provided the following reasons:






[72] Ms. Bennett was in a position remarkably similar to that of the plaintiff in Kokkinis. Although she did not see Mr. Henry prior to the collision, Kokkinis indicates that it does not necessarily follow that she was in any way negligent. Having said that, I wish to clarify that I do not read Kokkinis as standing for the proposition that left-turning drivers are entitled to proceed blindly on the assumption that oncoming drivers will obey the rules of the road, without regard to their concurrent obligation to act reasonably as the circumstances dictate. In my view, Ms. Bennett was entitled to proceed on the assumption that oncoming traffic, including Mr. Henry, would act in accordance with the law and come to a stop on the late amber, absent any reasonable indication to the contrary and provided she comported herself with reasonable care. Here, there was no contrary indication from Ms. Bennett’s standpoint. Indeed, she could see that the SUV across from her had complied with the rules and she was aware as well that the flow of straight through traffic had ceased some seconds earlier. She had no reasonable indication that oncoming traffic in the form of Mr. Henry would proceed through the intersection in clear violation of the rules of the road. Moreover, I find that in all the circumstances she conducted herself prudently and with reasonable care in negotiating her left turn. In contrast, Mr. Henry knew or reasonably ought to have known that in all likelihood Ms. Bennett would have carried through with her left turn at the final stage of the amber light, and most assuredly when the signal turned red. He created an extremely unsafe situation in failing to come to a stop.

[73] I endorse the case authorities that cast doubt over the legitimacy of portraying a driver in Mr. Henry’s shoes as having the presumptive right-of-way or otherwise qualifying as the dominant driver for the purposes of assessing liability using the Walker paradigm: see, for example, Snow v. Toth, [1994] B.C.J. No. 563 (S.C.); Shahidi v. Oppersma, [1998] B.C.J. No. 2017 (S.C.); Ziani v. Thede, 2011 BCSC 895. The dominant/servient driver analysis in Walker is predicated on the footing that the dominant driver has proceeded lawfully and, it seems to me, is of utility in that circumstance only. I, therefore, question whether that framework is of any assistance to a driver like Mr. Henry, who has acted in breach of his statutory duty. In any case, it cannot be said that Ms. Bennett attempted to execute her turn in complete disregard of her statutory duty to yield, which is an integral component of the Walker analysis. Indeed, it is my view that Ms. Bennett can be validly characterized as the dominant driver in the circumstances. There is no cogent evidence to remotely suggest that she could have avoided Mr. Henry by the exercise of reasonable care. To formulate it in the terms of s. 174, Ms. Bennett posed an immediate hazard to Mr. Henry, which he should have appreciated, and it is he who ought to have yielded the right-of-way.

[74] Based on the foregoing, I am satisfied that the accident was caused solely by the negligent driving of Mr. Henry. As he is entirely at fault for the accident, his claim is dismissed.







Plaintiff 50% At Fault for Running Yellow Light

As the BC Court of Appeal recently confirmed, there is a range of possible splits of fault following many intersection collisions.  Reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, further addressing this frequent type of collision.
In last week’s case (Ziani v. Thede) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2006 accident in Vancouver, BC.  He was travelling west on Kingsway.  As he approached the intersection of Boundary Road the light turned yellow.  He increased his speed to run the light.  At the same time the Defendant was approaching from the opposite direction on Kingsway making a left hand turn onto Boundary.  The Defendant testified that he had an advance green arrow although this evidence was not accepted with the Court finding that the Defendant was faced with the same yellow light that the Plaintiff had.

Madam Justice Bruce found that both motorists were equally to blame and in doing so provided the following reasons for judgement:




[24] On the facts of this case, the plaintiff entered the intersection on a yellow light and thus cannot be said to have the right of way. I am also satisfied that the defendant did not have an advance green light in his favour when he was attempting to turn left. Given the timing of the light sequences, and the evidence of the two independent witnesses, it would have been impossible for the defendant to have faced a green light when he was attempting to turn left. Had the defendant faced an advance green turn signal, the witnesses would not have seen a red light for oncoming east/west traffic at the time of the collision. Next in the sequence would have been a green light for through traffic on Kingsway. Moreover, Ms. Gjerding clearly testified that the defendant’s blue van was stopped in the left turn lane waiting for the through traffic to clear. This evidence is inconsistent with the defendant having the right of way with an advance green light.

[25] Thus on the facts of this case, the competing duties described in ss. 174 and 128 of the Motor Vehicle Act are squarely in issue. The burden of proof described in Dawes is not applicable where neither of the drivers had a presumptive right of way. Instead, the Court must examine the conduct of each driver to determine if they complied with their respective duties under ss. 174 and 128 of the Motor Vehicle Act…




[27] In my view, it is apparent that the plaintiff decided to increase his speed and “run” the yellow light in contravention of s. 128 of the Motor Vehicle Act in order to avoid the red light. It was only coincidental with the light turning yellow that he saw the defendant’s vehicle. It was not the presence of the defendant’s vehicle that led to the plaintiff’s decision to increase his speed in order to avoid a collision…

[29] In this case, however, I find the defendant did not assess whether the plaintiff was an immediate hazard or not when deciding to proceed with the left turn. Instead, the defendant wrongly assumed that he had the right of way due to the presence of an advance green signal. Instead of focusing on the oncoming traffic and any potential hazards created by those drivers, the defendant concentrated on ensuring there was no cross traffic or pedestrians in the crosswalk while he turned left. He looked left, then right, then left again before he looked ahead at oncoming traffic. By this time it was too late because the collision had already occurred. In my view, the defendant neglected to take the proper steps to ensure there was no oncoming traffic before he proceeded into the left turn. In this regard, I find the facts of this case are similar to those in Shirley where Mackenzie J. (as he then was) concluded that both drivers were at fault, the oncoming driver for running a yellow light and the left turning driver for proceeding into the turn when her view of the intersection and the oncoming traffic was partly blocked.

[30] For these reasons, I find that both the plaintiff and the defendant are at fault and their respective negligence both contributed to the accident. The degree of fault does not differ significantly. The defendant proceeded into a left turn without keeping a lookout for oncoming traffic due to his mistaken assumption that he had an advance green light. The plaintiff was equally at fault for increasing his speed and attempting to travel through the intersection before the light turned red and following an established amber. Accordingly, I find the plaintiff and the defendant each 50% responsible for the accident.

Jury Dismissal Of Intersection Crash Claim Upheld on Appeal


(Accident Reconstruction Software courtesy of SmartDraw)
Adding to this ever-growing database of BC motor vehicle liability cases, reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Court of Appeal upholding a Jury Verdict dismissing an injury claim following an intersection crash.
In today’s case (Bailey v. Jang) the Plaintiff was driving in a restricted-traffic curb lane as she approached an intersection.  At the same time the main lane in her direction of travel was backed up leaving a gap at the intersection.  The Defendant tried to make a left hand turn through the gap and the vehicles collided.  The Plaintiff sued for damages but her claim was dismissed with the Jury finding that the Defendant was not negligent.  The Plaintiff’s appeal was also dismissed with the Court finding that the jury’s verdict was not unreasonable.  In doing so the BC Court of Appeal provided the following reasons addressing some of the principles that come into play for crashes involving left-hand turning vehicles:

[11] Section 174 of the Motor Vehicle Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, states:

Yielding right of way on left turn

174.     When a vehicle is in an intersection and its driver intends to turn left, the driver must yield the right of way to traffic approaching from the opposite direction that is in the intersection or so close as to constitute an immediate hazard, but having yielded and given a signal as required by sections 171 and 172, the driver may turn the vehicle to the left, and traffic approaching the intersection from the opposite direction must yield the right of way to the vehicle making the left turn.

[12] Although, as asserted by the appellant, it is a logical corollary of the jury’s verdict that they concluded the appellant was 100% at fault for the accident, it is important to remember that the principal focus of this appeal is whether there was evidence on which the jury properly could have found that the respondent was not negligent.

[13] The appellant relies on Pacheco v. Robinson, (1993), 75 B.C.L.R. (2d) 273 para. 15 where this Court stated:

… the dominant driver who is proceeding through the intersection is generally entitled to continue and the servient left-turning driver must yield the right of way. The existence of a left-turning vehicle does not raise a presumption that something unexpected might happen and cast a duty on the dominant driver to take extra care. …

These comments were noted in Salaam v. Abramovic, 2009 BCSC 111 para. 26.

[14] The quotation of legal principle from Hiscox v. Armstrong, 2001 BCCA 258 and Pacheco is based on circumstances where the left-turning driver “proceeds through an intersection in complete disregard of his statutory duty to yield the right-of-way”. In Pacheco this Court found that the defendant “totally failed to determine whether [the] turn [could] be made safely”. In Salaam, the court held that the dominant driver “was there to be seen from 450 feet away” and that “[t]he plaintiff did not determine whether her turn could be done safely”. Such drivers cannot shift responsibility to the driver who has the right-of-way.

[15] Other cases relied on by the appellant show that a dominant driver is not without obligation. This was recognized in Pacheco wherein this Court distinguished a decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal on the basis that “[t]here was no indication here that traffic on the left hand side of the plaintiff had stopped so that the plaintiff should have been alerted to a situation of potential danger”. An obligation on a dominant driver to take care was recognized in Berar v. Manhas, [1988] B.C.J. No. 677, Reynolds. v. Weston, [1989] B.C.J. No. 49, and Clark v. Stricker, 2001 BCSC 657.

[16] These cases illustrate the fact that a left-turning driver is not without rights as is clear from the wording of s. 174. Too often drivers proceed through an intersection as if left-turning drivers have no rights. In each situation, the specific circumstances dictate whether a left-turning driver is at fault for a collision, in whole, in part, or not at all.

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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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