Q&A - Blame it on the Weather

Q&A ImageThere's an article in the paper about a motor vehicle that skidded then flipped and landed on its roof in the ditch during a heavy hailstorm. A police spokesperson said the cause of the crash was attributed to the weather and no charges are being contemplated.

At one time, wouldn't the driver have been charged with Undue Care and Attention? My husband had a similar accident about 20 years ago when he hit a patch of ice, and he was charged with undue care. The officer at the scene told him that he had to charge him with something.

Could you please tell my why the rules have changed?



Looking back on all the collisions that I investigated during my service I think that I can say that very few of them, if any, could be blamed completely on the weather conditions. Most often the cause was the driver failing to moderate their driving according to the conditions that they found themselves in. Without any further information on the collision that you are speaking of I would be willing to guess that the driver failed to slow down, lost control due to the unsafe speed and found themselves upside down in the ditch.

Of course, there may also be factors at play that I don't know about, but this guess is the most likely one in my opinion.

There are a number of charges that may or may not be appropriate for the situation. Driving without due care and attention, speed relative to the road conditions or even simply failing to confine the vehicle to the right hand half of the roadway.

More likely what has happened here is that the investigator felt that they did not have enough evidence for a conviction and decided not to lay a charge, or they had the evidence, sympathized with the driver and decided not to lay a charge. Both decisions were reviewed by the officer's supervisor who decided they were acceptable in the circumstances.

So, if you have a collsion investigation, don't lay a charge and the reporter asks you what to blame, the weather is an easy scapegoat. It can't complain and we've written off another collision, perhaps with an excuse.

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