Published In: Insurance Law 10.Nov.20 November 10, 2020

Case Summary: Insured’s excessive speed did not constitute a “race” or a “speed test”

Insured was not precluded from coverage by speeding excessively, as he was not using the automobile in a “race” or “speed test”.

Insurance law – Automobile insurance – Conviction of dangerous driving – Exclusions – Statutory provisions – Third parties – Damages – Practice – Summary judgments

Vyas v. Brown, [2020] O.J. No. 3464, 2020 ONSC 4916, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, August 4, 2020, S. O’Brien J.

The insured was driving on a highway at a speed between 198 – 215 km per hour when he struck another vehicle, injuring the passengers in the other vehicle.  The insured was charged and pled guilty to dangerous driving causing death.

In an action for damages against the insured, his insurer applied summarily for a declaration that the insured was in violation of a statutory condition of his policy that prohibited the use of an automobile in a “race” or “speed test”. The insurer argued that there was no other reasonable explanation for the insured’s excessive speed. The insured testified that he was just trying to get home faster and was not racing.

The Court dismissed the insurer’s motion, finding that excessive speed alone was not sufficient to constitute a “race” or a “speed test”.

This case was digested by Erika L. Decker, and first published in the LexisNexis® Harper Grey Insurance Law Netletter and the Harper Grey Insurance Law Newsletter. If you would like to discuss this case further, please contact Erika L. Decker at