Rear-Ending Car with No Brake Lights

Was driving yesterday and saw someone with no brake lights, hypothetically if they slammed their brakes and you rear-ended them, who would be at fault?

Update:
posted a few replies, just providing a few arguments, no malice intended.

Could not add another poll option for "both drivers" seems to be bugged

Poll Options expired

  • 11
    Car with no brake lights
  • 104
    Car that is behind

Comments

  • +7 votes

    You have to maintain safe distance at all time. If they are slamming on their brakes the deceleration is the clue, not the brake lights.

    • +5 votes

      Yeah, OP - the car isn't invisible just because it has no brake lights.

      • +1 vote

        Car is not invisible without brake lights - even if a car had brake lights, have you ever had to slam your brakes?
        Now imagine that same situation with a car in front of you with no brake lights.

    • +1 vote

      Maintaining safe distance - this is easier said than done, during peak hour traffic maintaining a safe distance is almost impossible as everyone just merges into the large gap, if someone with no brake lights merges in front of you this would be the first time seeing this person with no brake lights, so your reaction time WILL be greatly diminished, IF they were to slam their brakes during the merge.

      E.G 70KM/h merge dropping to 20KM/h giving you barely any time to react to the deceleration with no brake lights on-top of that.

      Sure if you already knew they had no brake lights it would be easier, but keep in mind you don't always have that knowledge before hand.

  •  

    Was driving yesterday and saw someone with no brake lights, hypothetically if they slammed their brakes and you rear-ended them,

    It depends. Do they have any lights at all?

  • +3 votes

    Imagine if it was a cyclist.

    Same scenario. Cyclist slows down & you hit him from behind.

    Do you think you could reasonably argue that it was the cyclist's fault ?

      • +7 votes

        Cyclists are required to obey the same road rules as drivers, plus some additional bicycle-specific rules. Like all road users, cyclists can be fined for failing to follow these rules. - VicRoads

        If riding in low light, you must have working lights.

        (Unless you're talking about daytime brake lights but we don't know what OP meant.)

        •  

          If riding in low light, you must have working lights.

          This is the same for NSW.

          These are some of the things one may do in a collision at night. Move the vehicles out of live traffic to reduce potential hazards. Take plenty of images. A low light camera is very useful here. Call the police and provide them with the dash cam video for their investigation. Record the drivers/riders particulars for insurance.

        • +4 votes

          Bicycles are not required to have brake lights, which is what the OP is referring to.

    • +2 votes

      Imagine if it was a cyclist - 95% of the time a cyclist is not in directly front of you, even if they are you can have your brakes buffered as you have a clear view infront of them of any obstacles, keep in mind you are only going 45-50km/h so plenty of time to react.
      I would also seriously doubt a cyclist would slam their brakes for no reason infront of moving car, unless they had a death wish.

  • +16 votes

    The term involved here is contributory negligence. Neither needs to be fully at fault, it's how you apportion blame and costs. Operating an unroadworthy vehicle will be taken into account. The poll is wrong to presume only one or the other is at fault, given many civil cases divide costs according to the contribution of fault.

    • +2 votes

      A call to the police and a dash cam video may help with the insurance claim.

    •  

      Agreed - but I'm not sure an insurance company would apportion.

    •  

      agree - and when people say maintain safe distance at all time, that can vary in my opinion. A car with a normal working light allows you to see the light, and when you see the light you react to it to slow down, and cars without proper break light you rely on their movement, and it's not always that easy, one scenario i can think of is if a car that's couple hundred meters away from you on the highway, they stopped or slow down dramatically, it's not going to be that easy to tell from that distance.

  •  

    Always the car from behind
    Someone could park their car on the road for no reason and walk off, and you hit them your fault

  •  

    Why do they put brake lights in cars if we all know to keep our distance. I'm going to rip mine out to save fuel and sue the next dumbass that hits me.

  •  

    A car with no brake lights working would be unroadworthy.

    If you manage to rear end them because of no lights make you even more unroadworthy!

  • +7 votes

    I had a claim found against other driver as i was able to prove the cars brake lights were not working
    Provided you can prove it you may have a chance at being found not at fault

  •  

    *insert commentary about leaving sufficient space to stop*

  • +2 votes

    You had me at "rear-end".

  • -1 vote

    If I was ended then I figure me not having a Licence might be more of a problem than the Accident itself.

    Does Santa’s sleigh have Brake Lights?

    •  

      Depends on what gear your on when you see him flying over the sky. Some dispute the colour of brake lights too are purple legal?

  • -3 votes

    At night, they would be at fault, there is NO question about that. During the day it doesn't make a difference so the person behind would be at fault.

  •  

    While people who don't maintain their cars suck, eg not replacing light bulbs on breaks, headlights etc, car behind AF

  •  

    My Sister ran into the back of a car stopped in the middle a country highway. 1am, no lights on, 100 km/h speed zone. She was badly injured and was fined and lost her license for dangerous driving!

    •  

      If she was paying attention then she would have been able to see it well before she hit it. It’s not invisible just because the lights are not on.

  •  

    You just said you SAW them. So you should give them extra clearance.
    Did you attempt to notify the driver? I guess not.

    •  

      Yes I did, but is every situation the same?

      How do you expect me to notify them? High beams?
      Or chase them down and drive side by side and tell at them through their most likely closed window whilst not looking at the road?

    •  

      Did you attempt to notify the driver?

      Why do you want to do that? There drivers drive totally oblivious to the fact that they are using DRL or no lights at all at night.

      Do other road users a favour and let the HWP deal with them.

  •  

    Clearly both at fault but the driver rear ending to other is MORE at fault.

    However the driver of the car without breaklights is driving a car with a dangerous defect so the car should not be on the road in any case.

    Would be an interesting argument between insurance companies.

  •  

    The driver that hit the car in front is at fault. Safe distance etc etc responsibility of driver behind.

    Depending on severity the driver without brake lights would simply say ‘they were working before you hit me” (while checking for dashcams)

  •  

    Are we talking brake lights or tail lights?

    This is a "scam" that occasionally occurs where an individual disables their rear lights to cause an accident and claim insurance etc.

    Generally it's just someone driving a shitbox who doesn't give a flying (profanity) about other road users.

    If this happens to you, and the car in front brakes suddenly and has no brake and/or tail lights, immediately call police. There is a procedure and test that Police MCIU use.

    If there's some evidence the other drivers brake/tail lights were disabled, and you have some evidence of slowing down ie. skid marks/low impact - didn't hit them at full speed without braking, then you'd have a decent chance of reducing your exposure to somewhere between 0% - 50%. It really depends on so many different factors that there is no single answer. At the end of the day make sure you have comprehensive insurance and as long as you abide by the PDS your exposure is generally limited to the excess payment.

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