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Reversing out of driveway
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 7:34 pm 
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Scene: driveway on main road, three lots from a T intersection with a traffic light. Young driver trained from birth here, NEVER to leave the driveway until the light is red AND you have observed the traffic has stopped and looked for people turning left into our direction as well. Lots of speeding. Light is at the top of a blind hill from our perspective, all we can see are cars stopped at the top on a red.
It's a go, light is red, car is stopped at the light and not in the left turn lane, young man is reversing out of the driveway when a speeding car blows through the red light in the curb lane, over the blind hill, and spins his car right around, blowing the airbag in her car and totalling her front end.
Young lady says light was yellow but admits to speeding. Well, I don't think she realized it was a 50km zone, actually, and she probably thought 60 to 65 (or 70 as she told the tow driver) was totally cool. It was also raining so conditions should have warranted driving at least in the range of the limit. You can drive over that hill at 50 in the dark and in the rain on a green light and have PLENTY of time to stop for something as far as our driveway. She was speeding quite a bit, I think.
Highway traffic act says if you are pulling out of your driveway, it is your fault. There was no way to avoid getting hit by that speeding car that blew the light. No fault insurance rules apparently say if you are reversing, period, you are at fault.
We plan to fight this ticket, advice and experiences shared would be much appreciated.


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Re: Reversing out of driveway
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:15 pm 
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You seem to be blurring the line between two distinct ideas of at fault under the HTA (i.e. committed an offence) and at fault per insurance fault rules.

With respect to at fault under the HTA, you are correct that it is an offence to leave a private driveway not in safety. I'd suggest that if there was a collision, that's evidence of the fact that it was not safe to leave the driveway at that time. You say that there was no way to avoid getting hit by the speeding car, but I disagree - the way to avoid it was to NOT leave the driveway at that time, regardless of the fact that they blew the red or yellow or whatever. Their wrong doesn't somehow make the leaving of the driveway safe.

With respect to insurance fault rules, I'm not sure how those work exactly, but I suspect that there is a high onus on people reversing and people exiting a driveway.

I hope that helps to clarify.

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Re: Reversing out of driveway
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 6:56 pm 
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Yes, appreciate the intent of the act, but the hill is blind - from our drive one cannot see beyond where the top car stops at the light. If someone comes flying through a red too fast to stop, what can a driver do? No time to get out of the way (though there was room for the other car to go around, going to fast to make that move, too.) If our car had had a couple more seconds to complete the move before the car flew through the light then she would have rear ended him and it would have been a different story just based on the relative position of the car. Also, she had to be flying because there is enough time under normal circumstances for a car to stop no matter what colour the light is. Seems very unfair to ticket someone for something they could not foresee or have time to react to. If he could have seen down the hill and see a car coming that might not be stopping then he would be at fault, but there is no seeing, so we wait till the red is set, then we start backing out. Sorry if I am repeating myself but I am hoping someone has had a similar situation - the position of the driveway and the lights and the hill are out of our control.
Insurance I think has fault determination rules that put the person reversing automatically at fault. Probably handy for sorting out parking log incidents.


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Re: Reversing out of driveway
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:43 pm 
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I agree with Simon. While I can appreciate that the driveway may not be easiest to back out of, that in my mind simply creates an even higher onus for diligence on the part of the at fault driver. Reading between the lines, the defence you're presenting seems to be more that the other driver acted in an unexpected manner, not that the accident truly couldn't be avoided. It sounds like the at fault driver checked, observed that it was clear to pull out, but failed to continue scanning as he backed out. Hard to say what your chances at trial will be. I've only seen one trial for this offence, and the JP did rule in favour of the defendant. The problem was the other involved driver never attended Court, so the Crown couldn't really present a strong case.

And yes, as for fault insurance rules, you are 100% at fault while merging onto a roadway from a private drive. Doesn't matter if you're in forward or reverse, just the fact that you're the one pulling onto the road.


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Re: Reversing out of driveway
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:52 pm 
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Nancy wrote:
If he could have seen down the hill and see a car coming that might not be stopping then he would be at fault


I don't agree that this would have rendered the driver coming out of the driveway free of fault. At least not fault in terms of the HTA. The onus is still on the driver leaving the private driveway to NOT do so unless it can be done safely. What the other driver can or can not see has no bearing on this.

I can appreciate your situation, I'm just telling you how I think it's likely to play out in court. It really sounds like your defence is one of due dilligence - that you did everything possible (given the position of the driveway) to exit onto the road safely. If you can convince a JP of that, you will have successfully made out the defence. But I think their arguments are going to be similar to what Stanton and I have outlined.

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Re: Reversing out of driveway
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 12:01 am 
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Fault Determination Rules place 100% fault on drivers reversing, but also 100% fault on drivers who disobey a traffic signal. Theoretically it should be 50/50 - but again, that is for insurance only.

For the court case, what was the driver charged with? They will also need the girl who allegedly ran the red light to testify in order to get a conviction.

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Re: Reversing out of driveway
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 6:58 pm 
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Yes, thanks. It will all come down to what happens in court, I suppose. It's good to know the fact that it is pretty hopeless but have a tiny seed of hope that a technicality will help or that due diligence and the actions of the other driver will be considered. A lesson from this is that we need to address the safety issues on our road with the authorities - there are a lot of accidents here.
Thanks All!


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