Dangerous Driving Causing Bodily Harm

Dangerous Driving Causing Bodily Harm

The offence of dangerous operation causing bodily harm is outlined in section 320.13(2) of the Criminal Code.

A person commits the offence of dangerous operation causing bodily harm when they cause bodily harm to another person by driving or exercising care or control over a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft, or railway equipment in a manner dangerous to the public.

Examples

Person A drives their pickup truck above the speed limit, through a red light, and into the opposite lane of traffic because they are late for work and collides with an oncoming vehicle, seriously injuring that vehicle’s passengers.

Person B knows they are tired but wants to drive home anyways. Person B soon falls asleep at the wheel of their car and swerves across four lanes of oncoming traffic, colliding with another vehicle and seriously injuring that vehicle’s driver.

Person C drives onto the sidewalk to get out of a traffic jam and causes serious injuries to several pedestrians walking on this sidewalk.

Cases

R. v. Linton, 2022 ONCJ 197

In R. v. Linton, the accused was convicted of one charge of dangerous driving causing bodily harm when he swerved into the opposite lane of traffic to pass a line of cars at 30 km/h over the speed limit and struck an oncoming vehicle, injuring two of the car’s passengers.

R. v. Lindsay, 2020 ONCJ 467

In R. v. Lindsay, the accused was convicted of one charge of dangerous driving causing bodily harm when he turned his vehicle into oncoming traffic on the highway in a suicide attempt and struck a tractor-trailer, seriously injuring the driver of the tractor-trailer.

R. v. Harnett, 2022 ONCJ 65

In R. v. Harnett, the accused was convicted of one charge of dangerous driving causing bodily harm when she drove her car over the victim’s left leg after having a few drinks and a physical altercation with the victim.

Offence Specific Defence(s)

Not a Conveyance

Where the person is driving something that is not a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft, or railway equipment, they may not have completed the offence of dangerous operation causing bodily harm by driving it dangerously and injuring someone.

For example, if person B is riding a manual bicycle, skateboard, or is on roller skates when they speed through a red light and hit someone, they may not have completed the offence of dangerous operation causing bodily harm.

Lawful Excuse

Where the person has a lawful excuse to be driving dangerously, they may not have completed the offence of dangerous driving causing bodily harm. A lawful excuse could include responding to a threat to life or handling a medical emergency.

For example, if person A is unexpectedly having a stroke when they strike person C, they may not have completed the offence of dangerous operation causing bodily harm.

No Bodily Harm

Where no one is struck or otherwise injured by the person’s driving, or where they are struck but not injured, the person driving may not have completed the offence of dangerous operation causing bodily harm.

Not Driving

Where the person is simply a passenger and is not driving or exercising care or control over the motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft, or railway equipment, they may not have completed the offence of dangerous operation causing bodily harm.

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