Dangerous Driving Causing Death

Dangerous Driving Causing Death

The offence of dangerous operation causing death is outlined in section 320.13(3) of the Criminal Code.

A person commits the offence of dangerous operation causing death when they cause the death of 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, killing 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 killing that vehicle’s driver.

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

Cases

R. v. He, 2021 ONSC 7253

In R. v. He, the accused was convicted of one count of dangerous operation causing death when she drove through a red light and struck a pedestrian crossing the intersection, killing the pedestrian.

R. v. Hutchinson, 2022 ONCJ 276

In R. v. Hutchinson, the accused was convicted of one count of dangerous operation causing death when, attempting to pass a slower car on the highway, she struck an E-Bike, causing the E-Bike’s rider brain damage that put him in a 28-month coma before killing him.

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 death by driving it dangerously and killing someone.

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

Lawful Excuse

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

For example, if person A is being chased by person B, who is shooting out their car window at person A, or person A is having a medical emergency and is rushing to get to the hospital when they strike and kill person C, they may not have completed the offence of dangerous operation causing death.

No Death

Where the person struck by the person driving a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft, or railway equipment dangerously does not die, or where no one is struck or otherwise killed by their driving, the person driving may not have completed the offence of dangerous operation causing death.

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