15 Dec The Defendant’s Prior Driving Record

The Defendant’s Prior Driving Record

Should a Plaintiff be allowed to include particulars about a Defendant’s prior driving record in personal injury pleadings?  There was no British Columbia authority on this issue until the recent case of Rezai v. Uddin, 2017 BCSC 1746.

The Plaintiff was struck by a taxi owned by Sunshine Cabs Limited and operated by the Defendant, Uddin.  Liability was in issue.  The Plaintiff filed a standard claim and then sought to amend the pleadings to include particulars about the Defendant’s prior driving record.  The Plaintiff required leave from the Court to do so because a trial date had already been set.

The Defendant’s driving record included two charges of speeding and one charge each of failing to yield to a pedestrian, entering an intersection on a red light and using an electronic device while driving.  Only the latter charge had occurred within the five years prior to the accident.

The Court considered that the only possible purpose for similar fact pleading here, given the variety of infractions, would be to enable the Plaintiff to suggest that the Defendant was a generally bad driver based on his driving record. However, that would not necessarily mean he was responsible for the accident, any more than a clean driving record would absolve him of responsibility.

The Court was also concerned that if historical driving records were relevant in personal injury actions, the scope and duration of discovery and trial would be expanded.

The Court concluded that it was not appropriate to plead similar fact evidence regarding the Defendant’s driving record.  The Plaintiff’s application to amend the pleadings was dismissed, with costs payable to the Defendant.