Car Accidents and Speeding
In a recent case called Gardiner v. MacDonald, 2016 ONSC 602, the Court addressed issues that come up in car accident cases where speeding may be a factor.
In this case, an accident between a public bus and a sport utility vehicle (suv) resulted in the death of three persons in the suv. It was alleged that the driver of the suv had a high blood alcohol level. It was alleged that the suv ran a red light and was hit by the public bus. The issues at trial were mainly who among the suv driver and the public bus (municipality) driver were liable. The Justice found that the bus driver was likely speeding and if he were going slower, he may have avoided the accident. Weather and driver inattention were also factors considered in the analysis of the accident.
The Justice found the bus driver 20% responsible. In his analysis, the Justice discussed the following principles:
Speeding does not, in itself, constitute negligence. It will be a question of whether a vehicle’s speed is reasonable having regard to the facts of each case. Circumstances such as road conditions and traffic are relevant.
Drivers may assume that other drivers will obey traffic signs and signals. However, drivers with the right of way must still exercise proper care and determine whether it is safe to proceed.
Professional drivers may be held to a higher standard of care than the general public. In the case of bus drivers such as in this case, the standard is that of a reasonable bus driver in like circumstances.
This article is provided for information purposes only and each case must be considered based on their own facts. Legal advice should be obtained in each case to determine the applicable law.
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