Liability vs Responsibility Under the Law – Citizen Joe, Jane or Ji Goes for a Drive

Liability vs Responsibility Under the Law – Citizen Joe, Jane or Ji Goes for a Drive


How many ways can you look at someone who is just driving to the store for some staples for their family?

  • Well if they go there and return safely, all is well. It doesn’t technically matter if they speed a little/or drive under though both are considered less safe, are on their cell phone, or distracted by a fight with their SO or unruly kids. It doesn’t even technically matter if they smoked a bit of weed or had a few shots. Nothing happened, right? They’re not liable cuzz nothing happened. But they are responsible for their behaviour. They’re at home, and they know these things are bad driving behaviour. Srsly, pull over if you cannot control the car or the people in it! And don’t get in the car to drive if you aren’t stone cold sober.
  • But what if they were in a foreign country and weren’t familiar with the laws there? They are meant to become familiar enough with the laws of the country to handle the roads and traffic. Before they drive. Ignorance of the law is not a defence. Though again, if they go there and return safely, all is well. Isn’t it?
  • How much are they responsible for or liable for another driver’s behaviour?

a) If the driver is in your car, quite a bit actually. Never go in a car where you don’t know or trust the driver! Even a passenger is liable if there are guns or drugs in the car, or if the driver is impaired. I suppose it’s ok if nothing happens though? Isn’t it?

b) If the driver is sharing a lane with you, you should create a buffer zone between your car and theirs. Weather should determine how great a distance that buffer zone is. And you are also responsible/liable for behaviour you could reasonably expect, like slowing down or stopping in a school zone. Like going slower on residential streets, or kids playing on or near the road, and someone having to screech to a halt.


That’s the kind of thinking that you have to do as a defensive driver. And whether or not you are ready to face the consequences for your actions. even if they aren’t technically illegal. If you yourself did nothing wrong.

  • Are you responsible? Were you doing the best you could at taking precautions? Were you moving with the traffic? Were you in control?
  • Are you liable? Will you face consequences if things went wrong? And what will that be? It could be a ticket, or even a time in a cell, depending how bad things got. Your insurance may go up or you might lose your license. And in some cases, you might lose your life. If there was a police chase, a car crash. Or in some countries, drugs can result in a death sentence. (No, I’m not kidding)

So how bad did you need that bread and cheese for a meal anyways? Or can you walk to the store?


This is obv just an example, and just some of the possibilities. But it’s also the WAY adults have to think about Liability andd Responsibility Under the Law

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