The distinction between indirect intent and foreseeable fault in road traffic events

  • Ovidiu-Vasile Bozdog Faculty of Law, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca
Keywords: eventual intent, indirect intent, foreseeable fault, criminal negligence, imprudence, the crime of murder, the crime of culpable homicide, traffic offences, case law – road events, jurisprudence, guilt, forms of guilt, the subjective aspect of the offence, objective circumstances of foreseeable fault, some criteria of indirect intent in traffic offences, Spanish legislation in road traffic events


Road traffic is present in every person’s life, considering that, at various times, we can all become participants to it. Alongside the benefits that road traffic provides us with, it is also presenting risks that are indulged in our societies. Even though the legislator has set rules to ensure the safety of traffic participants, the frequent violation of these rules, leads to serious injuries and even death of some individuals. Thus, traffic offenses are some of the most frequent crimes in relation to which Romanian courts are notified about. In the category of these offences, a primary role is played by the subjective element that can provide major differences in the legal qualification of the deed, respectively in the sphere of criminal liability. It has become a notorious fact that, from a legal point of view, that indirect intent can barely be delimitated from foreseeable fault, an issue that transposes itself also in the area of traffic incidents. Until recently, the traditional view was that all traffic accidents are committed with criminal negligence rather than intent. However, if we take into account the substantial evolution of traffic starting with the increasing number of participants, the evolution of speed, the capabilities of the vehicles today up to the frequency of the gross violation of traffic rules, we conclude that a paradigm shift is needed. In extreme situations, indirect intent must also be taken into consideration. The difference in the sanctioning of indirect intent and foreseeable fault makes the delimitation between the two in road traffic accidents a paramount issue. The present study tackles precisely this issue of the distinction between indirect intent and foreseeable fault in road traffic accidents by trying to clarify some controversial hypothesis by referring to relevant studies and a few eloquent examples of Romanian case law.