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A few questions about highway incidents
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:48 pm 
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I've got a couple of questions about something that happened a few weeks ago (we're trying to find out if the situation was handled properly):

1. My buddy was driving (with me in the passenger seat) down a busy highway, with someone following pretty close to us (traffic was flowing, and we were going about 110 to stay at the same pace as the SUV in front of us). As always happens on that highway, "something" up ahead caused someone to slam on the breaks, and once the SUV's break lights came on, my buddy hit the breaks (increasing break pressure when he realized we had to slow down fast). We had enough room to stop without hitting the SUV, but as he was breaking, we heard some tire squeals, and I looked behind us: the car behind us didn't have enough room to stop (or their reaction time sucked...) and swerved off the road. I'm pretty sure he hit the guard rail (we were on the left, so not much shoulder room). At this point, we were going about 50 and traffic started speeding up again (my friend didn't hear anything but swerving tires, and didn't know whether or not the car hit the guard rail). We weren't 100% sure if we were supposed to stop and check on the other car or not. We figured that since we were still going pretty fast, and my friend wasn't at fault, we weren't obligated to stop. Was that the expected procedure?

2. What's the definition of an 'Accident'? I checked the Ontario Highway Traffic Act and could not find a definition.

3. If I'm going through a green at an intersection. Lets say Driver A is turning left on that red, but slows down at the last second because they don't have enough time to go through. Behind Driver A is Driver B, who (for whatever reason) collides into Driver A's car. If I saw the collision happen, am I obligated to stick around for when the cops show up (as a witness)? No one else was stopping, so I figure I'd follow suit and keep on going.


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Re: A few questions about highway incidents
PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:03 pm 
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You should not stop just because of the legal issues, but to see if the other car driver, passengers, are ok! If you think you were involved in an accident you should stay around, and if you were at fault you could get a ticket for leaving an accident. Failing to remain at the scene of a collision.

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Re: A few questions about highway incidents
PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:43 pm 
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(Ugh... the drivers in the 3rd question were turning RIGHT on the red, not left...) I knew that the passengers were 'alright' for the intersection incident, as the two drivers were already out of their cards yelling at eachother by the time I left the intersection. Also, they were turning right going to opposite way I was going. I wasn't involved other than having witnessed it (and I wasn't sure if 'witnesses' had any obligation to help a cop report on the incident).

For the highway incident, I'm pretty sure he wasn't at fault, since all he did was hit the brakes hard in response to the car in front of him hitting the brakes hard (in response to the car in front of it, etc...) due to a quick slowdown in traffic. As for stopping, there was little room on the inner shoulder, and there was an onramp, so there was no access to the outer shoulder for another 200 metres (that and stopping on the outer shoulder would require crossing a few lanes of busy highway, which is a bad idea).
Neither of us knew 100% what we should have been doing in that situation, though, and no other cars were stopping, so he kept on going. I also know that using other people's reactions to guide you isn't the best idea, and I eventually found this site looking for more info on the issue. I'll definitely suggest stopping if anything like that happens again, though.


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Re: A few questions about highway incidents
PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:52 pm 
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Location: Toronto
1. For your first incident...

Quote:
200. (1) Where an accident occurs on a highway, every person in charge of a vehicle or street car that is directly or indirectly involved in the accident shall,

(a) remain at or immediately return to the scene of the accident;

(b) render all possible assistance; and

(c) upon request, give in writing to anyone sustaining loss or injury or to any police officer or to any witness his or her name, address, driver’s licence number and jurisdiction of issuance, motor vehicle liability insurance policy insurer and policy number, name and address of the registered owner of the vehicle and the vehicle permit number. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 200 (1); 1997, c. 12, s. 16.



Even though the tailgater was the only one that crashed, the vehicle you were in was involved. Would the police likely be pursuing a "fail to remain" charge? Probably not. But the law says it is technically "fail to remain."

2. There is no definition of "accident" in the Highway Traffic Act, Insurance Act or Fault Determination Rules that I've been able to find, either. Generally, though, it's any time a vehicle comes into contact with another vehicle or object - if you want the generally accepted way the courts look at it.

3. You should stick around, but you are not obligated to.

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Re: A few questions about highway incidents
PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:40 am 
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Radar Identified wrote:
1. For your first incident...
[...]
Even though the tailgater was the only one that crashed, the vehicle you were in was involved. Would the police likely be pursuing a "fail to remain" charge? Probably not. But the law says it is technically "fail to remain."


Good to know. Does this also apply when there's no good (or 'safe') place to stop the vehicle? The next outer shoulder (the inner shoulder had a little less than a car's width) was about 200-300 metres accross 3 lanes of busy highway traffic. I went by that spot yesterday (and every weekday, on a public transit bus) and looked attentively at the left hand lane, and there wasn't much room between the road and the guard rail. (I'm not trying to be difficult, just trying to get as much information as possible if something like this happens again)

Quote:
2. There is no definition of "accident" in the Highway Traffic Act, Insurance Act or Fault Determination Rules that I've been able to find, either. Generally, though, it's any time a vehicle comes into contact with another vehicle or object - if you want the generally accepted way the courts look at it.


I thought not... Very odd that they don't have any specific definition (considering they define LOTS of other stuff).

Quote:
3. You should stick around, but you are not obligated to.


I'll keep that in mind. Also, for curiosity's sake, if I was a pedestrian at that same intersection and a I witnessed a similar thing happened (yes, this has also happened when I was just walking by...), should I also be sticking around?


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Re: A few questions about highway incidents
PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:43 am 
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Location: In YOUR rearview mirror!
There is a definition for a collision to be "reportable", which means it has to be reported to the police. One of the following has to occur:
- injury of any kind
-damage over $1000 (cracked bumper is over....fender ding possibly)
- any property damage (strike a post, tree, mailbox etc.. and even tire grooves in someone's lawn)

As far as witness to incidents and unsafe to stop etc.
Can easily call the "non-emergent" phone for the police (when you get to your destination) and leave your name/phone for the investigating officer. Also would give it a week to return the call - why? could be officer's last shift and tied up with incident until end of shift, then the officer is off for his/her normal days off.

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Re: A few questions about highway incidents
PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 7:25 pm 
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eVolvolution wrote:
Does this also apply when there's no good (or 'safe') place to stop the vehicle?


Technically yes. However, if it is not safe to stop, what I'd do is stop at the nearest safe location and call the police from there.

eVolvolution wrote:
Also, for curiosity's sake, if I was a pedestrian at that same intersection and a I witnessed a similar thing happened (yes, this has also happened when I was just walking by...), should I also be sticking around?


Probably. Again, there is no real legal obligation to do so. The reason being that as soon as the cops show up, if the only people remaining at the scene were those who banged into each other, their stories change pretty quickly, so it would hopefully help the victims. If you check the "Careless Driving" area of this forum, we have a current thread where the witness' information was not taken down, and it would have undoubtedly resulted into the other driver getting charged if she had been interviewed. If I see a crash happen, I always stop.

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Re: A few questions about highway incidents
PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2010 3:06 pm 
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The definition of an accident is found in the Motor Vehicle Accident Report instruction manual issued by the MTO. An accident is defined as:
an accident is the unintended contact resulting from the motion of a motor vehicle or streetcar or its load that produces property damage, injury , or death.

Further, something falling off a motor vehicle that strikes someone or something is an accident if it causes an injury (no matter how slight) or causes damage costing over $1000.00 ($1000.01 or more) to any and all objects involved. A person who falls and gets injured due to a bus stopping quickly, swerving, or stopping quickly is an accident (resulting from the motion of a motor vehicle ). A car that brakes and swerves (or looses control and skids) to avoid a braking vehicle ahead falls under the definition of accident and, as stated earlier, the vehicle ahead must return and remain as it is indirectly involved.


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Re: A few questions about highway incidents
PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2010 4:36 pm 
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Location: In YOUR rearview mirror!
pvotrainer wrote:
The definition of an accident is found in the Motor Vehicle Accident Report instruction manual issued by the MTO.

the MTO manual does not have to be complied with as it is a guideline only and not written laws.....would be similiar that a car manual tells the driver to wear a seatbelt, not enforceable by the manufacturer, good idea to wear one, but ultimately is the law written in the HTA that forces people to where the seatbelt or a penalty would be imposed.

HTA
199. (1) Every person in charge of a motor vehicle or street car who is :
- directly or indirectly involved in an accident shall,
- if the accident results in personal injuries
- or in damage to property apparently exceeding an amount prescribed by regulation, (HTA OREG 596 (11) $1000)
- report the accident forthwith to the nearest police officer and furnish him or her with the information concerning the accident

HTA
200. (1) Where an accident occurs on a highway, every person in charge of a vehicle or street car that is directly or indirectly involved in the accident shall,
(a) remain at or immediately return to the scene of the accident;
(b) render all possible assistance; and
(c) upon request, give in writing to anyone sustaining loss or injury or to any police officer or to any witness his or her name, address, driver’s licence number and jurisdiction of issuance, motor vehicle liability insurance policy insurer and policy number, name and address of the registered owner of the vehicle and the vehicle permit number

Notification of damage to trees, fences, etc.
201. Every person who, as a result of an accident or otherwise, operates or drives a vehicle or leads, rides or drives an animal upon a highway and thereby damages any shrub, tree, pole, light, sign, sod or other property on the highway or a fence bordering the highway shall forthwith report the damage to a police officer

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Above is merely a suggestion/thought and in no way constitutes legal advice or views of my employer. www.OHTA.ca


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