Just because you are not driving a motor vehicle does not mean you cannot be charged as if you were. A woman in St. Catharines, Ontario learned this lesson the hard way when she pulled on the steering wheel of her boyfriend’s car while he was driving in Niagara Falls. The action caused a minor accident, and upon police investigation her boyfriend was not charged despite him being in the driver’s seat and driving the car. Instead, she was. Further, the woman was charged with careless driving under the Highway Traffic Act as if she was the driver of the vehicle. The offence carried with it an $800 fine, 6 demerit points, and prohibited the woman from driving for 3 months.
The situation serves as a stark reminder to passengers not to interfere with the driver of a motor vehicle. What seems like a minor event or ‘joke’ can end up costing hundreds of dollars in fines as it did for the aforementioned woman. It could also result in a car accident and resulting personal injuries. By touching the steering wheel or interfering with the driver, the passenger can be held responsible for what happens to the car in the process. The judge in the case stated that it is not a good idea for a passenger to grab the wheel of the car in any circumstance, even if the passenger is trying to help the driver take “evasive action”. It is therefore necessary for all passengers to recognize that they hold responsibility in the car as well, albeit a very easy one to fulfill. So don’t touch your driver’s steering wheel, the state of your license, insurance and bank account will be better off for it.
If you have been injured in a car accident, whether or not it was caused in whole or in part by the passenger, and require legal assistance, please contact the personal injury lawyers at Daniel & Partners LLP. We offer a free initial consultation for all personal injury matters, including those involving motor vehicle accidents. Our dedicated personal injury team is committed to fighting to ensure our clients have the resources necessary to recover from their injuries.
Article written by Alexander Hobbs, Brock University Co-Op Student