Things That Go Bump in the Parking Lot - Part 2

Intersection CrashAsking for people to send me their thoughts at the end of last week's article resulted in one of the largest responses I've ever received. Ultimately, the overwhelming choice of advice was to report the offending driver to ICBC and the police. Fewer people were willing to shrug their shoulders and carry on with life while two offered emotional support.

I was also advised on how dishonest people might seek to profit from the situation by either accusing me of being the driver at fault or relying on convincing me not to report and covering the loss by reporting their half of the incident as a hit and run. This was not something that I had considered myself.

Had this person been polite and apologetic at the outset, I would have probably shrugged my shoulders and carried on with life. A bit of scuffed paint on an older pickup really wasn't a big deal. After all, it's not like I haven't backed into something in my driving history either.

However, given my experience in traffic law enforcement and the circumstances I found myself in, I was concerned that this woman may no longer be a safe driver. RoadSafetyBC says that we are currently outliving our ability to drive safely by about 10 years.

RoadSafetyBC does accept unsolicited driver fitness reports, but you must be able to identify the driver. They are unhelpful in any other circumstances and will only repeat that you must report to police instead.

After some thought, I gathered my dash cam footage along with the witness information and reported to ICBC, my own damage insurance company and the police.

You should report any collision to your insurance company, regardless of the amount of damage. Depending on the terms of your contract of insurance, you could be denied coverage at a later date if you fail to report promptly.

ICBC and my other insurance company resolved the claim quickly, finding the other driver liable for the collision. A quick trip to the recommended body shop found no hidden damage and I advised them to close the claim. No repairs would be required.

Contrary to my expectations, the police were willing to take my complaint that the other driver had refused to provide required information post collision. I was contacted by a constable who discussed the situation with me as a peer. He agreed to interview the other driver and request a driver re-exam from RoadSafetyBC if he felt that it was appropriate instead of issuing a violation ticket.

When I followed up on my complaint, he advised me that the request to RoadSafetyBC had been made.

Reporting can also help in the case of malicious and criminal intent. I received stories from people who had been convinced not to report and later on had the other driver either renege on a promise to pay or reported themselves as victims. Some of these people even paid their deductible and accepted some liability rather than argue.

Offending drivers have also been known to convince victims not to report and then made a fictitious hit and run complaint to get their vehicles repaired for the cost of the deductible.

I may not have felt entirely happy about it, but in retrospect I think that making the reports was the wise thing to do.

Here is some advice from Paul Hergott of Hergott Law in Kelowna. He also advises against doing a quick deal in the parking lot.

Comments

You did the right thing, but what bothers me is this:

I'm sure this continuation of the Parking Lot Bump story will occasion further feedback, although you're no longer actively soliciting opinions. But hey, that never bothered me!

However ...

I was contacted by a constable who discussed the situation with me as a peer. He agreed to interview the other driver and request a driver re-exam from RoadSafetyBC if he felt that it was appropriate instead of issuing a violation ticket.

Let's think about this. The constable apparently saw this as an either/or situation. As in, either he would issue a ticket, or he would request a Re-Exam.

And yet, the evidence is clear. This woman should be issued two tickets, with consequent demerit points and fines, because she is guilty of two offences - Reversing when unsafe, and Failing to fulfill duty of driver involved in accident.

Caution in backing vehicle

193  The driver of a vehicle must not cause the vehicle to move backwards into an intersection or over a crosswalk, and must not in any event or at any place cause a vehicle to move backwards unless the movement can be made in safety.

Duty of driver at accident

68   (1)The driver or operator or any other person in charge of a vehicle that is, directly or indirectly, involved in an accident on a highway must do all of the following:

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

(b)render all reasonable assistance;

(c)produce in writing to any other driver involved in the accident and to anyone sustaining loss or injury, and, on request, to a witness

(i)his or her name and address,

(ii)the name and address of the registered owner of the vehicle,

(iii)the licence number of the vehicle, and

(iv)particulars of the motor vehicle liability insurance card or financial responsibility card for that vehicle,

or such of that information as is requested.

The consequent 5 Demerit points from these (and accompanying fines) should at least result in her deciding to check behind her properly next time she's backing up, and to fulfil her obligation to others to provide her information if she is in a collision with them. This can only be a good thing, no matter how long she continues to have the privilege of holding a driver license. Plus which, the money from the fines would go into much-needed road safety initiatives in BC.

And, given her attitude, it's entirely appropriate that she receive these tickets; I cannot think why the constable would hesitate to issue them - she can always dispute the allegations in court if she feels that they're unfair.

Requiring/recommending a driver Re-Examination is a separate issue. Driver Exams are not a punishment, dammit! They're a necessary process to determine driver fitness. As a senior, she wouldn't even have to pay for the Enhanced Road Assessment, just show up for the appointment with her car.

And if she's still sufficiently viable and proficient behind the wheel when objectively assessed, then she will be able to continue with her life, perhaps a little poorer but also a little wiser.

My Fault

I had a fairly lengthly talk with the constable who was quite willing to issue the ticket for failing to identify. I was the one that was reluctant to support that decision because I did not see a worthwhile outcome in traffic court should the ticket be disputed.

Perhaps a ticket for backing while unsafe should have been issued, but I was much happier with an interview and the possibility of a letter to RSBC recommending a re-exam.

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