Judge dismisses claim in street racing accident case
Published 07 Jul 2020
Illegal street racing is all too common in Australia, and is responsible for a large number of accidents each year. One crash that took place in 2016 was recently at the center of a lawsuit in a New South Wales court.
The plaintiff in the case, Ashley June Taylor, was riding as a passenger in a car driven by Daniel John Hall, the defendant, in just such a race, according to court documents. Taylor alleged that Hall was driving at more than 170 kilometres per hour when he lost control of the vehicle, hit two trees, and caused injuries to the plaintiff.
The judge's decision
Despite the injuries, the judge hearing the case dismissed the plaintiff's claims on the grounds that she willingly entered a vehicle she knew would be engaged in illegal street racing, and thus the driver had no duty of care. Specifically, by entering the vehicle with foreknowledge of what was to occur, "she voluntarily accepted the risk involved in an illegal race engaged in by the defendant," the judge wrote.
The ruling also noted that despite the injuries sustained in the crash, there was no economic loss and they did not lead to severe enough impairment that she is prevented from working in the future.
Apart from the danger and potential liability issues involved in illegal street racing, NSW also has a number of stiff penalties that apply to anyone who is caught engaging in such activity, according to the NSW Government. For instance, police have the legal ability to suspend a driver's licence – immediately on the roadside – as well as providing for large financial penalties and even imprisonment for multiple-time offenders.
In addition, these penalties can also be applied to those who willingly participate in such activities other than the driver, such as a passenger, photographer, organiser or other party.
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