A BC driver who claims public auto insurer wrongly blamed him for a collision in a Starbucks drive-through has lost his case that he was not at fault because none of the line-up lanes had priority.
British Columbia’s Civil Resolution Tribunal determined that the Starbucks drive-thru is a “freeway” under provincial rules Road Traffic Actwhich means that incoming cars must give way to through traffic.
“Section 1(c) of motor vehicle law (MVA) defines a “freeway” as any private location or passageway to which the public is permitted or invited to enter for the purpose of parking or waiting vehicles,” Andrea Ritchie, vice chair of the CRT, wrote in its Oct. 10 decision for the insurance company of BC “Well, I think the parking lot was a freeway for purposes of this claim….
“Section 175 MVA states that when entering a thoroughfare, a driver must give way to traffic that has entered the intersection on the thoroughfare or is approaching so close that it poses an imminent danger. Based on the evidence I have, I find [the claimant] not granted the right of way [the] Vehicle that was already positioned in the through lane and was moving.”
in the Yoon vs ICBC, Samuel Yoon and Ghung Pham both stood in separate lines in a parking lot on March 29, 2020, waiting for Starbucks drive-through. The two lines converged in front of the ordering station.
Pham waited in a line that ran straight through the parking lot to the ordering station with no turns. Yoon’s car was perpendicular to it and had to turn right into Pham’s row to reach the ordering station. Yoon made a turn and collided with Pham’s vehicle.
ICBC determined that Yoon was the “merging party,” so it was his responsibility to give in to Pham’s vehicle. Since this was not the case, the public insurer held Yoon 100% responsible for the collision.
Yoon took offense at the insurer’s finding and sent the CRT a quick email from the Starbucks district manager to support him. The Starbucks manager noted that there is no designated guest queue in the drive-through and vehicles can line up in any safe direction. Yoon argued he would not “merge” since vehicles in each line had equal lane rights.
But the CRT dismissed Yoon’s case, noting that he had to make turns to get into the ordering station, which meant dodging drivers waiting in the continuous line.
“Despite Mr. Yoon’s claims, I find that his line of vehicles had to merge with Mr. Pham’s line of vehicles to reach the ordering station,” Ritchie wrote. “Regardless of the fact that there is no line ‘priority’, it is common sense that an order at the drive-[through]Mr. Yoon had to turn right and merge into Mr. Pham’s established lane.”
Ritchie also did not accept Yoon’s argument that his vehicle had been completely stopped in the collision. She found that the dashcam video Yoon entered as evidence was stopped before the accident, and therefore it did not confirm his claim that the car was not moving when the collision occurred.
Feature photo courtesy of iStock.com/hapabapa