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Ches Crosbie Barristers

Woman Killed as Vehicle Backs from Driveway: Is Backing Illegal?

Ches Crosbie
Personal Injury Lawyer at Ches Crosbie Barristers
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The sad news was released this weekend that a 58 year old woman had been killed by a vehicle backing out of a driveway in the Goulds.  The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary were said to be considering charges. 

Is it against the law to back your vehicle out of your driveway?  The answer is, it depends.  What the Highway Traffic Act actually says is as follows:

151.        A driver shall not back a vehicle unless the movement can be made with reasonable safety and without interfering with traffic.

So there is no absolute prohibition against backing a vehicle, and it is common experience that the vast majority of vehicle operators drive forward into driveways and back out of driveways.  What is prohibited is (a) backing when it is not reasonably safe, and (b) backing when it interferes with traffic.  I am afraid that we all see vehicles being backed without reasonable safety, and while interfering with traffic, all too often in Newfoundland and Labrador. 

Our condolences go out to the family of the late Mary Drew, the lady whose life was so untimely lost.  It may be small consolation in such tragic circumstances, but at least our anachronistic and badly dated laws of wrongful death were changed last year to mandate compensation to close family members for the intangible loss of companionship that they suffer when a loved one's life is taken by a wrongful death.  I am pleased to have had a role in obtaining this needed change in the law, which permits some small measure of solace to the loved ones of the deceased.

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