What Would You do if you saw Ducklings on the Road?
During the spring and summer, throughout the country, we see ducklings and other animals trying to cross the road. Sometimes, the ducks are on high-speed roads when we are surrounded by traffic. Swerving, or stopping under such circumstances could lead to a serious or even deadly accident. No one wants to hit an animal on the road, but what are you to do when you find yourself in a situation where trying to avoid the ducks could cause a deadly car crash?
Guilty of Criminal Negligence
In Canada, a woman stopped on a high-speed highway due to ducklings on the side of the road. She stopped in the left traffic lane with her blinkers on. Unfortunately, by stopping in the middle of the road, Emma Czornobaj, caused a deadly accident. Two people died when their motorcycle slammed into her car. She was found guilty of criminal negligence and received 90 days in jail and has a 10 year ban on holding a driver’s license. Czornobaj is appealing her sentence and will remain free pending the appeal. If the appeal is unsuccessful, she will be able to serve her sentence on weekends. The victims were a 50-year-old man, Andre Roy, and his 16-year-old daughter, Jessie.
Why 90 Days?
The judge felt that Czornobaj failed to appreciate, even after the deaths, that stopping in the middle of the road was very dangerous. He also felt that she did not express her remorse properly. The defense feels that the 90 days in jail is a fair sentence, but the inability to drive for 10 years is too much. The family of the victims are satisfied with the current sentence.
What Would You Do?
What would you do if you saw ducklings on the side or even in the middle of the road? Would you stop? If so, would you stop in the middle of the road or would you pull off to the side? If you saw that you could not stop without causing an accident, what would you do in that case?
Remember, when you drive on the road, you are obligated to drive without negligence. In the case of Czornobaj, stopping in the middle of the road to help ducks on the side was a very clear case of negligence, even possibly gross negligence, as the judge seems to have found under Canadian law. If you engage in unsafe behavior and seriously injure or even kill someone, regardless of your good intentions to save an animal’s life, you could be charged with a crime. Even if you are not charged with a crime, you could still be held liable for the car crash, and if someone dies, find yourself the defendant in a wrongful death case. For advice on what to do if you see an animal in the road, check out what to do if you encounter wildlife while driving.