A driver who became “confused” by a Canberra tram and stopped despite a green light has been told she was mostly to blame for causing the three-car crash that followed.
On 23 September, the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal ruled mainly in favour of the two other drivers she sued for causing damage to her car, although it did still find they carried a level of responsibility and awarded her some compensation.
Emma Spurek was driving her blue Kia on Flemington Road in Mitchell on the morning of 4 June 2019, heading back to her home in Ngunnawal.
As she approached the Sandford Street intersection, she saw a stationary tram on the Gungahlin to Civic route parked on the other side of the intersection.
She stopped her car even though the traffic lights were green. As ACAT’s Senior Member Dominic Mulligan said, she became “confused” by the tram’s presence.
Very shortly after her car stopped, it was hit from behind by a BMW driven by Kent Kan-Yin Lee, which in turn was struck by a Subaru driven by Mary Clark. The impact from Ms Clark’s car made the BMW hit the Kia a second time.
The back of Ms Spurek’s Kia was damaged and she sought just over $2000 in compensation.
She argued the other two caused the accident by failing to keep a safe distance behind her car and controlling their vehicles. But Senior Member Mulligan said her decision to stop suddenly at a green light was the “real cause” of the accident.
“Had Ms Spurek obeyed the green light and continued driving through the intersection, there would have been no impact with the stationary tram that was facing her and there would have been no obstruction of the vehicles behind her,” he said.
“Put bluntly, had Ms Spurek obeyed the green traffic light and continued through the intersection, there would have been no crash.”
However, he also said Mr Lee and Ms Clark were not driving at a safe distance behind the Kia to avoid a collision.
He awarded Ms Spurek 25 per cent of her total claim, about $500, and ordered Mr Lee to pay the majority.