New & Notable: Defining dangerous driving

Randy Roy was headed home from work at the sawmill. He was giving his colleague Mark Harrington a ride home as well. In order to get home Roy decided to take a side road which met up with a major highway that they would take. When Roy reached the intersection of the side road and highway he had to stop and then turn left onto the highway. When he reached that intersection the weather conditions were not good. Visibility was limited due to for and the side road was snow-covered and slippery.


Roy turned onto the highway. He clearly did not see the tractor-trailer headed down the highway in the same direction he intended to go. The driver of the tractor-trailer noticed Roy’s headlights, but by the time he realized that Roy had pulled in front of him it was too late. The tractor trailer slammed into Roy’s vehicle. Harrington was killed.


Roy was charged with dangerous driving causing death. He was convicted. He appealed. Cromwell J, on behalf of a unanimous Supreme Court allowed the appeal and entered an acquittal: 2012 SCC 26.

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Pending & Prominent: SCC to consider dangerous driving

At 7:30pm Frederick Belanger was driving on an undivided stretch of highway near Baie-Comeau, Quebec. It was dark. The posted speed limit was 90km/hr. Belanger found himself behind a pickup truck travelling in the same direction. The truck was travelling at a rate of speed of 90-95km/hr.


Despite the solid double line on the roadway, Belanger decided to pass the truck. As he manoeuvred around the truck Belanger found himself facing an oncoming vehicle. Both swerved toward the same side in an effort to avoid the collision. Instead they met head on.  The driver was killed instantly. Belanger sustained an injury to his ankle and his passenger suffered a broken femur.
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Quotable Quotes: Dangerous Driving - Sentence

The accused was charged with two counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm and one count of dangerous driving causing death. The accused was operating his vehicle on the QEW at 189 km/hr as he approached another vehicle from behind. The accused struck the vehicle violently from behind at approximately 178 km/hr; one of the occupants was killed, the other seriously injured. The passenger in the accused's vehicle was also seriously injured.

The accused pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 3 years in the penitentiary; he also received an 8 year driving prohibition. In imposing sentence, Nadel J commented on sentencing for dangerous driving and offered the following thoughts on the speed at which the accused was driving:
Sentences have tended to increase in severity for dangerous driving causing death.
Considering the speed at which Mr. Fitt was travelling it is not a misuse of language, in my view, to describe Gordon Fitt's action that night as an act of racing. While it is true that he was not competing in a race against another car on the roadway, he was racing his car down the highway no less than a racing car driver might do when practicing on a track empty of any cars other than his own [paras 35 and 44].
DG Mack