Personal Injury

Ruling on dangerous driving death speaks to a wider problem

By Kirsten McMahon, Associate Editor

A recent ruling that found an Ottawa man not guilty of dangerous driving causing death and leaving the scene of a fatal collision speaks to a much wider problem, Toronto critical injury lawyer Patrick Brown tells CBC News.

The collision happened in 2015 when a cyclist was struck and killed by a vehicle. The man behind the wheel later said he'd fallen asleep and woken to a bang, the newspaper reports.

The cyclist was hurled into a ditch, so when the driver checked his rearview mirror he saw nothing and assumed he'd struck a roadside mailbox and kept driving, CBC News says.

The judge acknowledged that the man was driving 30 km/h over the speed limit, but reasoned that was normal behaviour given the hour and relatively remote location.

"At the end of the day, most people would perceive staying up all night and speeding like that as a marked departure from what a normal person would do,” Brown, partner with McLeish Orlando LLP, tells CBC News.

"It's concerning that to be 30 km over the speed limit seems to be something we're considering an acceptable standard," says Brown, founder of Bike Law Canada. "It's a car culture, and I think it's become part of the law we feel we can turn a blind eye to."

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