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Tag: Vo v. Michl

Known Poor Road Conditions Defeat Inevitable Accident Defence

As previously discussed, although a driver can sometimes be faultless after rear-ending another vehicle, such a result is rare.  Reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, dealing with a motorist trying to escape blame following a rear end collision.
In last week’s case (Vo v. Michl) the plaintiff pulled onto Kingsway from a parked position and proceeded to to the left hand lane.  At the same time the Defendant was proceeding in the same direction and saw the Plaintiff pull into his lane and brake ‘some four or five seconds’ before the vehicles impacted.  The Defendant argued that he could not avoid the collision due to icy  road conditions.  Mr. Justice Savage rejected this argument finding the Defendant was aware of the poor road conditions well prior to the impact and should have adjusted his driving accordingly.  In finding the Defendant fully liable for the impact the Court provided the following reasons:
[16]         I accept that Mr. Vo had his left turn signal on at that point which was his evidence and is not contradicted by Mr. Michl. Mr. Michl applied the brakes but because of the road conditions did not slow appreciably before impact. The road conditions were apparent to him as he had been driving in those conditions. He knew it was icy. This is not a case, for example, of their being a patch of “black ice” in otherwise deceptively benign conditions, as was the case in Borthwick v. Campa (1989), 67 Alta. L.R. (2d) 123 (Q.B.).
[17]         Mr. Michl was negligent in driving too quickly for the road conditions in traffic on Kingsway. There is no suggestion here that Mr. Vo’s actions in turning onto Kingsway were sudden and precipitous, as in some of the other cases referenced by the defence.
[18]         The defendant raises s. 151(a), and 170 of the Motor Vehicle Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c.318, and s. 7.05(1) of the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations, B.C. Regulation 26/58. I accept the evidence of Mr. Vo that he checked the position of the westbound traffic before he made this turn from the parked position onto Kingsway, and the westbound vehicles were well back at that point. The defence has said all that could be said to support their position, however, in my opinion Mr. Michl is 100% to blame for the accident.