If Consent is Given to Drive a Motor Vehicle, does it Cover the Driver’s Actions for the Entire Trip?
Pridmore v Drenth, 2023 ONSC 817
Written By: Aidan Vining and Cody Malloy, Scholar-at-Legislation
On this latest abstract judgment resolution, a father granted his son permission to drive his ATV throughout a freeway so as to entry off-road trails. Nevertheless, driving the ATV on the freeway constituted a breach of a statutory situation of the daddy’s insurance coverage. When the son crashed the ATV on a distinct freeway, the insurer took the place that protection was denied on the premise that the daddy permitted his son to drive on highways in breach of his coverage. In Pridmore v Drenth, 2023 ONSC 817, Justice Edwards held that the daddy solely permitted his son to drive on one particular freeway, and that this breach “doesn’t taint all the journey.” As such, the daddy’s third-party insurance coverage protection shouldn’t be denied.
Info & Background
On March 29, 2014, the son was driving an ATV owned by his father with a passenger. They have been driving by way of a snow squall on Fowl Street in Dunnville, Ontario, when the ATV rolled over and the son and his passenger suffered private accidents.
The ATV was insured by the Third Get together insurer, Novex Insurance coverage Firm, pursuant to the daddy’s normal Ontario vehicle coverage. The son had his G1 license on the time and was convicted beneath the Freeway Visitors Act for driving the ATV on a freeway and working a car on a freeway and not using a correct licence.
Counsel for the passenger introduced a abstract judgment movement in opposition to the insurer for a judgment declaring the complete third-party limits have been obtainable to the daddy on the time of the crash. The insurer’s place was that they have been right to disclaim protection as a result of the daddy permitted his son to drive the ATV when he knew or must have identified that his son would drive on a freeway in breach of the coverage.
The Court docket discovered that though the daddy had given his son consent to drive the ATV on a freeway on the day of the collision, the son didn’t have broad consent to drive the ATV on any “freeway” beneath the Freeway Visitors Act on the time of the collision, and due to this fact the insurer was incorrect to disclaim protection.
Legislation Concerning Driver’s Licenses
The Court docket famous the next related legislation as regards to driver’s licenses:
 The Freeway Visitors Act governs driving motor autos on Ontario highways. Part 32 of the Freeway Visitors Act prohibits anybody from driving a motorcar on a freeway except they’ve a correct driver’s licence, and subsection 32(9) prohibits an individual from driving a motorcar on a freeway, whereas contravening a situation contained of their driver’s licence or imposed by the laws.
 In accordance with S.1(1) of the Freeway Visitors Act, a “freeway” consists of “frequent and public freeway, road, avenue, parkway, driveway, sq., place, bridge, viaduct or trestle, any a part of which is meant for or utilized by most people for the passage of autos and consists of the realm between the lateral property strains thereof”.
 A “freeway” consists of the shoulder of the street.
The Insurance coverage Coverage
The Court docket additionally famous the next as regards to Novex’s insurance coverage coverage:
 The Novex Coverage is ruled by Half VI of the Insurance coverage Act and relevant Rules. The coverage incorporates Statutory Situations pursuant to part 234 of the Insurance coverage Act. Statutory Situation 4(1) states:
“The insured shall not drive or function or allow every other particular person to drive or function the auto except the insured or different particular person is allowed by legislation to drive or operates it.”
 If a driver breaches a situation of their driver’s licence, then they aren’t licensed by legislation to drive throughout the that means of the auto coverage.
Positions of the Events
The passenger’s place was that the only difficulty to be decided was whether or not the daddy permitted his son to drive the ATV on a freeway on the time of the incident when he was not licensed by legislation to take action.
The insurer’s place was that the daddy permitted his son to drive the ATV when he knew or must have identified that his son was working the ATV in breach of a statutory situation on a freeway, and due to this fact protection needs to be denied. The insurer conceded that whether or not the daddy breached Statutory Situation 4(1) is a separate query from whether or not the son breached Statutory Situation 4(1), and a breach of Statutory Situation 4(1) should happen on the time of the incident for protection to be misplaced.
The Court docket first discovered that the son breached Statutory Situation 4(1) for the next causes:
- The son drove the ATV on a “freeway”
- The son breached his license situations by driving on a “freeway” after consuming alcohol
The Court docket then decided that the daddy must have identified his son would breach Statutory Situation 4(1) when he consented to his son driving the ATV on Central Lane with a G1 license on the day of the incident. Nevertheless, the insurer can solely deny protection if the breach of Statutory Situation 4(1) occurred on the particular time of the collision.
The Court docket subsequent thought of the character of the consent given to the son. The Court docket discovered that the daddy gave his son clear consent to drive the ATV from their home onto Central Lane (a “freeway”) to the open discipline and trails. The Court docket famous the son didn’t have consent from his father to drive on the shoulder of roads or on highways (apart from the aim of crossing the street to entry a path).
Justice Edwards discovered the daddy’s consent to be very clear and outlined:
 I discover that Theodore didn’t know and ought to not have identified that Tyler would drive on any freeway apart from Central Lane. Tyler drove on the shoulder of Fowl Street with out Theodore’s consent, and opposite to the phrases of the consent that he had acquired from his father.
The daddy’s breach of Statutory Situation 4(1) was restricted to allowing his son to drive on Central Lane. This permission didn’t void protection for all the journey as a result of Statutory Situation 4(1) was not breached on the time of the collision because it occurred on Fowl Street. Due to this fact, the complete limits of the daddy’s coverage with Novex have been obtainable to the daddy on the time of the crash.
This resolution supplies useful perception into the problems of consent and off-road autos. Should you or a beloved one have been injured in an ATV crash, contact one among our Toronto private damage attorneys for a free session to debate subsequent steps.