In its recently-released decision Pruett v Robert, 2023 BCSC 49, the B.C. Supreme Court held that two drivers were both equally at fault for engaging in a protracted road rage incident on the highway that led to a collision, resulting in injuries to one of the drivers.
An independent witness to the accident described seeing the plaintiff driving aggressively before passing the defendant on the shoulder. He then saw the two vehicles repeatedlydrive up to the other, move in front, and brake-check each other. The witness testified that the plaintiff and defendant swapped places and brake-checked the other three or four times over the course of a few kilometres.The court found that this “cat and mouse game” ultimately resulted in the defendant losing control and striking the plaintiff after the latter swerved in front of him.
The court explained that both parties’ conduct in the moments leading up to the accident fell markedly short of the standard of reasonably prudent motorist, who would not have instigated or engaged in a high-speed “cat and mouse game” with another car on the highway at all, let alone during morning rush hour. The court held that a plaintiff’s aggressive driving in the moments leading up to an accident is part of the context that caused the accident and cannot be ignored in determining the degree of the plaintiff’s blameworthiness for the resulting collision.
This is one of only a few reported decisions involving road rage, and is unique in that the plaintiff’s participation the incident resulted in a finding of contributory negligence.