Man blames his loud car radio, sirens for crash with B.C. ambulance

Tribunal rejects bid to recoup ICBC costs after crash deemed 100-per-cent his fault

A B.C. driver who admitted he failed to stop for an ambulance because his radio was playing too loud has lost his bid to recover a higher insurance premium.

Sean Weatherill’s 2015 Jeep Cherokee and a BC Ambulance collided at a busy Richmond intersection the morning of May 27, 2016, according to documents filed earlier this month through the B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal.

Weatherill was travelling east under a green light, when a northbound ambulance with its lights and sirens on entered the intersection on a red light. The vehicles crashed and the Jeep hit a light post.

Following an investigation by an arbiter, ICBC placed 100-per-cent fault for the crash on Weatherill, saying he failed to yield to the ambulance.

Weatherill argued the driver of the ambulance was at least 75-per-cent responsible. He also sought a $300 refund on his increased insurance premiums, a refund of $300 for an insurance deductible, and $275 for work he missed because of the collision.

He said in small claims court he didn’t know the ambulance was nearby until it was in the intersection, and that it was changing between two types of sirens as it drove. He argued this could have led to a gap between sounds as it approached.

He said he scanned for hazards before entering the intersection, and did not see any dangers.

He acknowledged he did not hear the ambulance because of the Jeep’s sound-proofing, his radio, which was playing loudly, and background noise.

By the time he was in the intersection, he quickly determined he should speed through instead of locking up his brakes and causing a “T-bone situation” or a rear-ender.

In her decision, B.C. Civil Rights Tribunal member Kate Campbell sided with the original arbiter, who heard from two witnesses that the sirens were on as the ambulance entered the intersection.

Weatherill made a judgment in the moment that it would be better to speed up and try to avoid the collision, she wrote, but laws state a driver must stop for emergency vehicles.

“This is not optional. By proceeding through the intersection and not stopping, regardless of the reason, Mr. Weatherill failed to yield.”


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