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Phrase of the Week - Ordinary Driver

Ordinary Driver

Ordinary Driver



What do the words “ordinary users of a highway, exercising reasonable care for their safety” mean? In [Deering v. Scugog (Township), 2010 ONSC 5502 (Ont. S.C.J.) at para. 154], Howden J. concluded that: 

The ordinary motorist includes those of average range of driving ability—not simply the perfect, the prescient, or the especially perceptive driver, or one with exceptionally fast reflexes, but the ordinary driver who is of average intelligence, pays attention, uses caution when conditions warrant, but is human and makes mistakes.

 In [Ferguson v. Brant (County), 2013 ONSC 435 (Ont. S.C.J.) at paras. 16 and 17], the trial judge wrote in part: 

The Supreme Court of Canada stated the law clearly in Housen v. Nikolaisen, 2002 SCC 33, [2002] 2 S.C.R. 235. A municipality has a duty to keep a roadway in a reasonable state of repair so that the users of the roadway, exercising ordinary care may travel upon it safely. The municipality owes a duty of care to the ordinary driver, not the negligent driver.

The ordinary driver is expected to adjust his or her behaviour according to the nature of the roadway and the driving conditions. If he/she does not, he/she cannot sustain an action for negligence against the municipality, even where the conditions of a road present a hazard.
[Italics added.]

Kelly v. Perth (County) |
2014 CarswellOnt 9528 (Ont. S.C.J.) at para. 55, 56 |
Grace J.

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