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Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 2:32 pm
In the fall of last year my daughter, a G2 driver, ran into the back of another driver on a Friday night while driving my car The right front corner of my car hit the rear left corner of the car in front. My daughter told me she was distracted by a friend playing with the sunroof - not a valid excuse in my books but there you have it.
My car suffered only an apparent broken headlight and a scuffed bumper cover. Car in front of my daughter suffered only what appeared to be scratches to its rear bumper cover. Both cars were drivable and no air bags deployed.
My daughter called me right after the accident and I drove to the accident location arriving 5 minutes after the collision. The driver of the car in front offered only his name, phone number, and my daughter took photos of his car and his licence plate. By the time I got to the scene, 5 minutes after the collision, the other driver had left saying he was in hurry.
My decision then was whether or not to report this collision to the police. Knowing that I have to report it if damage to both cars is apparently over $2K, if there is public property damage (there was none), or if anyone was hurt (nobody was hurt) I decided not to report the accident. I justified the non reporting with the excuse that the damage did not appear over $2K to me, and me not being in the body shop industry I could not know for sure how much the damage was. Clearly if there had been more visible damage than I had seen, I, being a reasonable person, would have concluded that there was more than $2K damage and would have reported the accident. Another contributing factor for non reporting was that there is more often that not an automatic charge of careless driving, a charge that should not always apply to a momentary lapse of attention and a charge that can often be reduced by talking to a prosecutor. But why take the chance of the charge not getting reduced? Just to be clear, if I truly thought a reasonable person would conclude much more damage than $2K I would have had my daughter report the accident and face whatever the consequences were.
I reported the accident to my insurance company the very next morning and arranged to have my car repaired. The final bill from the body shop was $4500. Replacement parts were front bumper cover, headlight assembly, front right fender and fender liner. My insurance company did not need a police report.
Now for the questions:
1. Once I had learned that the damage was well over $2K when I received the final receipt from the body shop should I have then reported the accident to police?
2. If my insurance company had wanted a police report and I reported the collision to the police immediately after learning of this, would the police have charged my daughter for failure to report given that we could articulate that we really didn't believe the damage was more than $2K and we were reporting the accident because we were asked to?
3. Why do police more often that not automatically charge with careless driving when they should well know that momentary lapses of attention don't necessarily warrant such a charge?
Re: Reporting questions
Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 6:39 pm
1) the 2000 is non inclusive of labour , taxes etc.
2) I don't believe so people often misinterpret the amount of damage to their cars until they attend the garage and find out he actual numbers . However charges could be possible dependant on all the circumstances.
3) careless isn't a blanket charge and there are often better charges to lay. I always charge in collisions if I can articulate a cause. Hence the reason i call it a collision not an accident there is always a cause. Careless driving does include driving without due care and attention so a momentary lapse in attention causing a collision is careless driving, this is what caused the collision, therefore the charge under s. 130 HTA. Is the crown likely to offer a lesser included offence at trial . The answer is yes, simply to save court time not because careless might not be the correct charge .
Re: Reporting questions
Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 7:36 am
Careless driving does include driving without due care and attention so a momentary lapse in attention causing a collision is careless driving
I disagree... a momentary lapse in attention is not necessarily careless:
R. v. Richards, 2009 ONCJ 651 it was stated that:
 In R. v. Beauchamp (1953), 16 C.R. 270, the Ontario Court of Appeal stated the standard for careless driving is a constantly shifting one which depends on the road, visibility, weather and traffic conditions as well as other conditions which an ordinary driver would take into consideration.
In the matter at bar, clearly the visibility was limited by the fog. Nonetheless, Officer Nelson acknowledged that his visibility extended to 50 metres which provided a limited range of view for Ms Richards. While the road was wet from the fog, no evidence suggested Ms Richards could not stop due to road conditions. No evidence was led there were adverse traffic conditions. Officer Nelson testified that he was travelling at 60 kph and Ms Richards at approximately 40 kph. Therefore, Ms RichardsÃƒÂ¢Ã‚â‚¬Ã‚â„¢ was driving at a reasonable speed for the conditions of limited visibility and wet roads which existed that night. In my view, it cannot be said that she was driving ÃƒÂ¢Ã‚â‚¬Ã‚Å“without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highwayÃƒÂ¢Ã‚â‚¬Ã‚Â.
 In R. v. Ereddia,  O.J. No. 3421 (OCJ), Justice Fairgrieve also commented on the standards for a conviction of careless driving. He stated:
(6) The offence of "driving carelessly", created by s. 130 of the Highway Traffic Act, is defined as driving on a highway "without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway". The law has been clear for decades that in order to make out the offence under s. 130, the driving must be of such a nature that it amounts to a breach of one's duty to the public and is deserving of punishment: see R. v. Beauchamp (1953), 16 C.R. 270 at p. 278 (Ont. C.A.). A driver is not held to a standard of perfection, and a mere error of judgment is not necessarily sufficient to establish the offence: see R. v. Wilson (1971), 1 C.C.C. (2d) 466 (Ont. C.A.). Careless driving, generally speaking, requires proof of a departure from the standard of care that a reasonably prudent driver would have exercised in the circumstances, and normally involves, I would think, conduct that includes other less serious Highway Traffic Act infractions.
(7) Mr. Klaiman, counsel for the appellant, also referred in his factum to the pertinent judgment of Killeen Co. Ct. J. in R. v. Namink,  O.J. No. 317 (QL), where, at para. 10, the learned County Court judge stated as follows:
It is trite to say that this is a quasi-criminal charge, and that to make out a charge under this section the evidence must bespeak conduct deserving punishment in the way of a conviction under this section of our Highway Traffic Act. Mere momentary inattention, or a simple kind of error of judgment, does not bespeak the kind of conduct over which the net of this section is cast.