CASE LAW - Trytko v Kafafi

BC Courts Coat of ArmsThis case involves the determination of liability for a two vehicle collision in a traffic circle (referred to as a roundabout in the decision) at the intersection of Jervis Street and Nelson Street in Vancouver. Carrie Trytko was driving northbound on Jervis Street and entered the traffic circle after yielding to traffic approaching from her left. Once in the circle she observed Merdahd Kafafi approaching from her right. The court found that Mr. Kafafi failed to slow as he entered the circle and the two vehicles collided.

This traffic circle does not have yield signs posted at any of it's entries, making it an uncontrolled intersection.

 

The Honourable Judge Lee referred to section 173(1) of the Motor Vehicle Act which requires drivers entering uncontrolled intersections to yield to traffic on their right:

Yield signs

173 (1) Except as provided in section 175, if 2 vehicles approach or enter an intersection from different highways at approximately the same time and there are no yield signs, the driver of a vehicle must yield the right of way to the vehicle that is on the right of the vehicle that he or she is driving.

He found Ms. Trytko to be 75% at fault for the collision because she failed to yield to Mr. Kafafi. In turn, Mr. Kafafi was found to be 25% at fault because if he had slowed as  he approached the collision would not have occurred.

Link:

Comments

MVA deficiencies

I've often wondered why we put up with inept people in our Governments.  Traffic circles/roundabouts have been in use here for a long, long time.  I think the first ones were in Victoria.

Despite this, evidently no one of our "bright" lawyers in Victoria has seen fit to add a sub-section to 173 of the MVA (Quoted above) to cover roundabouts right of way. To do so would negate the "necessity" for signage on every roundabout.

But then, is it just possible that our legislation is often ambigous and contradictory because it is written by lawyers to ensure future clientele? 

Who needs a sub-section?

To my mind, MVA Section 173 has it covered.

At roundabouts, the Yield signs define the right-of-way (the person entering doesn't have any).

At traffic circles, the situation is uncontrolled, which 173 also covers. Hence the judgment in this case favouring the driver on the right.

Do I Understand This Correctly?

Am I understanding this correctly? One vehicle was in the traffic circle, and a second vehicle entered the traffic circle without slowing and collided with the first vehicle AND the first vehicle was at fault?

Isn't that completely the opposite of how we are led to believe that traffic circles and roundabouts are supposed to work?

http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/roundabouts/

 

In This Case, You are Correct

The crux of the matter is that this traffic circle does not have yield signs posted, making it an uncontrolled intersection. Drivers must yield to the right in an uncontrolled intersection, making the this traffic circle operate opposite to what people expect.

ICBC's "Learn To Drive Smart" Handbook needs to be updated

The "Learn To Drive Smart" handbook which is published by ICBC has a section on traffic circles which i've pasted below.  It does state "If there are no traffic control signs, treat it as an uncontrolled intersection".  But confusingly, it also states "Yield to any traffic in the traffic circle".  This yielding is clearly not required by law and it is unsafe to assume this is a rule of the road because once in the traffic circle, you will be expected to yield to vehicles which are entering (entering vehicles will always be on your right). 

Traffic circles are mostly found in residential neighbourhoods. When you’re using a traffic circle:

• Slow down as you approach the circle.

• Obey any posted traffic control signs, such as “Yield” or “Stop” signs. If there are no traffic control signs, treat it as an uncontrolled intersection.

• Yield to any traffic in the traffic circle. If another vehicle arrives at the traffic circle at the same time as you do, yield to the vehicle on your right.

• Go around the traffic circle to the right (that is, in a counterclockwise direction).

How does a driver who is already in the traffic circle know if the approaching driver has a yield sign or not?  Is he/she expected to look for the back of the sign?

DamnYou'llHateThisIBet

It's a guide for drivers as to how to drive safely ...

It does state "If there are no traffic control signs, treat it as an uncontrolled intersection".  But confusingly, it also states "Yield to any traffic in the traffic circle".

... but it doesn't replace the Motor Vehicle Act / Regs, nor is it meant to.

Think about it this way - they could say "As you're the driver on the right at this uncontrolled intersection, you have total right-of-way and the best thing to do is to barge right in there and expect others to recognize that they must yield to you or take the consequences".

But, they don't, because that would be stupid. Telling drivers to "Yield to any traffic in the traffic circle" is good advice.

There's all kinds of other good advice in the guide, too. Stuff about looking all around before you back up, stuff about using the mirrors and making shoulder checks, stuff about all kinds of stuff that isn't necessarily required by law.

How does a driver who is already in the traffic circle know if the approaching driver has a yield sign or not?  Is he/she expected to look for the back of the sign?

Well yes, obviously. Identifying right-of-way at intersections is always a two-part process, first identifying whether one is required to Yield or Stop, then identifying whether the other guy is required to Yield or Stop.

This is why 3 of the 4 Right-of-Way signs are not only red and white, but of a singular shape; this allows another driver to identify a Yield, or a Stop, or a railroad Crossbuck even, from the back of it.  Even if you go back thirty years to when Yield signs were yellow with black writing on them, they were still inverted triangles. Stop signs have always been octagonal I think. (Identifying the back of a 'Do not Enter' sign is irrelevant, if you think about it.)

Hey, here's a bit of trivia for you; I don't know if it's cast in stone for Traffic Engineers exactly, but across both Canada and the US, you can typically expect that if there's any kind of a yellow stripe or line down the middle of the road, then the intersections will be controlled (typically this means the other guy has a Stop sign). No yellow line? Then no guarantee, and it becomes much more important to check the cross-streets, and the back of the signs that face the other drivers; or not ...

The original commenter is correct.

I don't hate that the handbook has good advice around safety. I would definitely prefer that the handbook also equipped people with an understanding of the law.

Nah, the original commenter is correct.  BC needs to amend the motor vehicle act to explicitly handle roundabouts and traffic circles as many other jurisdictions have done.  Anything else promotes confusion.

There oughtta be a law?

 

BC needs to amend the motor vehicle act to explicitly handle roundabouts and traffic circles as many other jurisdictions have done.

Well roundabouts have already been explicitly handled, using Yield signs - the same way that jurisdictions around the world do it, with complete success in my opinion.

So let's think about those uncontrolled traffic circles, and the reality of the world we live and drive in. And let's think about it in the way that a Traffic Engineer would, whose job entails both maintaining traffic flow and preventing collisions.

Do we see confusion? The West End of Vancouver (highest population density of anywhere on this continent, apart from New York) has many of them; Nelson & Jervis - where this collision took place - is only one example. In many cases they have replaced 2-Way Stops, thus reducing noise (from stops and starts) and collision severity when there is a crash. They work, they flow traffic safely, any 'confusion' just makes drivers more careful. They also put the onus on both drivers to look out for conflicts, something that isn't guaranteed at intersections that use Stop signs as the one on the 'main road' will often rocket along complacently (I kinda like that image).

I guess what I'm saying is, if it ain't broke, then don't fix it. Traffic circles work, period. They're building more and more of them because they work. They work better, more safely, than uncontrolled intersections without a circle in the middle, even.

But the moment somebody writes a law for them that gives absolute right-of-way - whether it be to the driver in the circle, or the driver approaching the circle - then I would foresee an increase in the crash rate as drivers presume they're in the right and will be yielded to, whichever way the law was written.

Ready for some more trivia? At uncontrolled intersections, the reason right of way is given to the driver on the right is in order to protect him/her, literally. If there's a T-bone collision it's the driver on the right who will be most severely hurt; and most likely to immediately lose control over their vehicle. This would have been more than ever the case back in the days before seatbelt use and strong door beams became common and/or mandatory. Giving right of way to the driver on the right protects that driver.

 

 

 

Seriously?

"Confusion just makes drivers more careful."

 

I don't know where to begin with this one.

Don't start with it :P

There are two shades here and you must navigate them carefully, I'm sure Competent means #2:

1. Confusion about what one driver is doing when everybody else is clearly on the same page - i.e. driving up the highway in the on-coming lane - bad sort of confusion.

2. Confusion about "what is the page" - i.e. small towns in Europe removing Stop Signs, Yield Signs, Traffic Lights - good confusion, because as it turns out when everybody is aware that everyone else is "unaware" - everyone is "super aware".

Interesting

To paraphrase #2 - Some of our drivers are not able to follow the rules, so remove the rules in an attempt to make sure the rule-followers pay maximum attention to other drivers.  

I can imagine that doing this would work in low traffic-volume situations at least initially.  Do you know if this technique has benefits long-term?  I can also imagine that once everyone got comfortable with typical behaviours, there would be an uptick in collisions with the non-conformers .

John

Yeah, seriously!

Interesting how you zeroed in on that one sentence in my post.

'Confusion' might be too strong a term; but 'Uncertainty' would certainly fit.

Maybe they don't have traffic circles where you live, but what happens presently, due to the absence of signage, is that drivers look out for each other - literally and figuratively. They make judgments based on how far away the other vehicle is, how fast it's going, whether it's signalling, and they will usually try to make eye contact with each other.

But, my mind is open. Please spell out for us this Motor Vehicle Act amendment to explicitly handle traffic circles. I want to know how you're going to word it.

as many other jurisdictions have done

And maybe you could provide examples of how these many other jurisdictions have done so, how they have worded things.

 

Requested examples

I'd word it like these fine examples.  

Nova Scotia Motor Vehicle Act:

Rotary or roundabout

135 (1) The driver of a vehicle entering a roadway in or around a rotary or roundabout shall yield the right of way to traffic already on the roadway in the circle and approaching so closely to the entering highway as to constitute an immediate hazard. 

(2) The driver of a vehicle passing around a rotary or roundabout shall drive the vehicle in a counter-clockwise direction around the island or the centre of the circle. 2004, c. 42, s. 10.

 

Newfoundland Highway Traffic Act:

Roundabouts

100.1 (1) The driver of a vehicle entering a roadway in or around a roundabout shall yield the right-of-way to traffic in the roadway.

             (2)  A driver of a vehicle in a roadway in or around a roundabout shall drive to the right of the centre of the roundabout except where a traffic control device giving other directions is displayed.

             (3)  A driver of a vehicle in a roadway in or around a roundabout shall yield the right-of-way to traffic travelling in or around the roundabout to the left of the driver's vehicle except where a traffic control device giving other directions is displayed.

             (4)  In this section, "roundabout" includes a rotary traffic island and a traffic circle.

Those are fine examples thank you!

I'm still not convinced that we need such legislation to be introduced here, mind you.

In my opinion, the 'current chaos' is functioning fine.

Cheers, Paul

 

Google Ads