Under common-law principles a majority of courts require the motorist, who voluntarily undertakes to carry another gratuitously, to exercise the ordinary care of a reasonably prudent man in the management and operation of his automobile. The minority rule, by analogy to the gratuitous bailment cases, requires a person who invites another to ride gratis to use only slight diligence to avoid injury to that person and holds him liable for gross negligence. The minority view undoubtedly appeals to those who feel that it is unsportsmanlike to sue one's benefactor, and yet it is doubtful whether such a purely emotional foundation would have long supported the rule, or prompted the statutory modifications which have been so widespread as to constitute a trend. In a great number of these cases the real defendant is an insurance company; in reading excerpts from the evidence one is struck by the indifference of the testimony given by the host; and it is quite frankly recognized by some courts that the statutes enacted in the field are meant to protect the liability company from collusive suits.
Jack L. White,
NEGLIGENCE - THE DETERMINATION OF EXISTENCE OF GROSS NEGLIGENCE MAKING AUTOMOBILE HOST LIABLE TO NON-PAYING GUEST,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol35/iss5/8