Author Topic: NGC - Common traffic collision question  (Read 755 times)

Offline brider

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NGC - Common traffic collision question
« on: January 21, 2022, 10:03:58 AM »
Who is at fault when speeding on a surface street, and someone turns left in front of you (on a green light), causing a collision?

This would apply to either a 4-wheel vehicle or motorcycle, although other factors might come into the argument if the vehicle going straight is a motorcycle.

Everyone going the speed limit, would the car TURNING be at fault? I would assume so. But if the car going STRAIGHT was speeding, then what is the determination?

I watched the horrific video today of a motorcyclist in LA being tracked by a helicopter with the GPS speed displayed, the guy hit over 120 mph before slowing down to move thru traffic, then BAM at ~80 mph he hits a car turning left and cartwheels thru the air, as you could imagine. But it got me wondering how an accident report in a case like this would be handled.
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Offline SSGG Geezer

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Re: NGC - Common traffic collision question
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2022, 11:39:41 AM »
I suspect in the case you are referring to, that the fact the cyclist was provably reckless will mean that there is no chance of the left turning vehicle having any fault or liability.  There are a bunch of cretins on You tube who ride like this and when something like this happens, I feel worse for the people in the other vehicle who may feel unnecessary guilt and suffer injury when they are involved with these knuckleheads.  If you have ever spoken to someone who has been involved in an automobile collision with fatalities, you would know that the emotional trauma often outweighs any physical injuries.

Offline Mr Pootle

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Re: NGC - Common traffic collision question
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2022, 12:07:32 PM »
The starting point is that a car going straight on may be speeding, but it's there to be seen. The turning car takes all or most of the blame. A bike is more difficult to see and that may change the equation.
But the actual speed also comes into play in dividing up the blame. In the case of a bike going at 120 mph, I would say that the blame shifts.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2022, 12:12:50 PM by Mr Pootle »

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Re: NGC - Common traffic collision question
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2022, 01:13:20 PM »
In these type of accidents both parties could be charged with a traffic violation, if not fatal for one or the other.
One of the operators could be charged with NCGS 20-154 “by failing to to see before stopping, start or turning, from a direct line of traffic that the movement could be made safely.
And the other GS 154, exceeding the posted speed limit.
In the case you are referring to, my opinion, just an opinion from the info available, the motorcycle operator was obviously committing “CARELESS AND RECKLESS DR” violation to the point that the driver turning left could very well not be held liable due to being unable to see the approaching MC that was weaving in And out from behind other vehicles within the travel lanes.
It would have been a challenging fatality to have to investigate.

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Re: NGC - Common traffic collision question
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2022, 01:13:20 PM »

Online Scout63

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Re: NGC - Common traffic collision question
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2022, 04:23:17 PM »
I think it was David Hough in Proficient Motorcycling who would characterize the Rider as “dead right” if she/he weren’t at fault.  Personally, I think the car operator would be at fault if he/she could reasonably have seen the bike and judged it’s speed and still turned into traffic.
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Offline yogidozer

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Re: NGC - Common traffic collision question
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2022, 05:09:31 PM »
I agree with what Dan said. I would also check to see if the motorcyclist was on drugs, or had stolen the bike.
Going 120/80 through traffic? It's one thing to speed in an isolated area, might hit a deer or bear, but in traffic?
That efin crazy.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2022, 05:16:21 PM by yogidozer »

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Re: NGC - Common traffic collision question
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2022, 05:12:35 PM »
I think it was David Hough in Proficient Motorcycling who would characterize the Rider as “dead right” if she/he weren’t at fault.  Personally, I think the car operator would be at fault if he/she could reasonably have seen the bike and judged it’s speed and still turned into traffic.
In the scenario you just described for the operator of the car would be an intentional act, which would be a murder rap. To say if someone did or did not see an oncoming vehicle is an impossible feat for an investigating traffic officer and would be immediately exposed as speculation in a court of law. 

Offline SmithSwede

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Re: NGC - Common traffic collision question
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2022, 09:59:48 PM »
What is the speed differential for the motorcycle?  He was going 80 mph in what—a 65 mph roadway?  Or 35 mph?

If the differential is big enough, I’d say all fault is on the motorcyclist.  An average left turning motorist is entitled to presume that oncoming traffic is not going insanely over the speed limit. 

If the question were put to a jury in a negligence action I’m pretty confident the motorcyclist would get 100% blame, assuming the left turning motorist was Joe Normal (not drunk, paying attention, etc.)
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Offline nc43bsa

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Re: NGC - Common traffic collision question
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2022, 10:16:38 PM »
What I saw was a bike grossly speeding while lane-splitting, so it is entirely possible it was impossible for the car driver to have even seen the bike before he/she started turning.

Has anyone determined whether the car had a protected left-turn light?  That would put a completely different spin on the liability issue.  What I saw was a car turning left in front of two lines of cars (and the bike in question) that were not proceeding as if they had a green light.
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Offline wymple

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Re: NGC - Common traffic collision question
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2022, 10:39:25 PM »
Any jury who watches the video puts it 100% on the idiot on the bike.
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Offline John Croucher

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Re: NGC - Common traffic collision question
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2022, 11:57:24 PM »
Put a twist on it.  Law enforcement is required to follow Federal and State EVOP.  Emergency Vehicle Operations Procedures at all times.  Including following posted speed limits, traffic signals and road signs and markings.  Do They, no. Do they cause accidents? Yes.  Are EVOP law liabilities Enforced? No.

Offline yogidozer

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Re: NGC - Common traffic collision question
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2022, 04:53:45 AM »
Put a twist on it.  Law enforcement is required to follow Federal and State EVOP.  Emergency Vehicle Operations Procedures at all times.  Including following posted speed limits, traffic signals and road signs and markings.  Do They, no. Do they cause accidents? Yes.  Are EVOP law liabilities Enforced? No.
Do emergency services have to stick to speed limits?
In an emergency situation, drivers of emergency vehicles are granted certain exemptions to the law while using their sirens and blue lights. In these circumstances, an emergency vehicle can do the following things: Disobey the speed limit (if it's a police car, ambulance or fire engine)

Offline John A

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Re: NGC - Common traffic collision question
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2022, 06:48:38 AM »
I remember from a law enforcement motorcycle course I completed in ‘83 that you loose right of way if you are operating above the posted speed limit. If you are a LEO in pursuit I think there are legal protections in some states but don’t remember much more about that.
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Re: NGC - Common traffic collision question
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2022, 01:26:17 PM »
The GS statue differ from state  to state, so I’m only addressing NC chapter 20 laws.

You do not surrender your right to “right of way” by exceeding the posted speed limit. Mostly due to being for the most part it’s impossible, or near impossible to determine an exact speed of a vehicle after a collision.
However is really easy to determine if the said vehicle was traveling at a “high rate of speed” by using damage and skid marks, as well as eye witness information.

Yes a LEO in a marked patrol car can travel a speed in excess of the posted speed limit with full emergency equipment. However the officer is still under the legal obligation to not exceed a “ reasonable and prudent speed.
When training a rookie I would limit them to 15 over while responding to an emergency call in nature, with the explanation that your response is no good if you don’t arrive.
Also a note for the curious mind as to why they my see a LE vehicle that appears to be speeding.
It’s easy to condemn that officer at the time. However there are many times an officer my feel the need to arrive at a scene ASAP which may not require full emergency equipment.
There are situations where one can get there quicker without the confusion to the motoring public of full equipment and to just exceed the posted speed a bit to get to the screen and secure it to prevent things from getting worse, especially with traffic accidents.

I’m not condoning the fact that there are times when officers speed just because they can. As Billy Jack famously said “when policemen break the law there is no law”.
However I feel like a little leave way is appropriate in some situations. You can bet good ole fashion karma comes into place for the ones that abuse the position. 
One must admit that the lure of a doughnut can cause a policeman to fall prey to temptation also causing them to speed 🤔😂

Offline mechanicsavant

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Re: NGC - Common traffic collision question
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2022, 02:27:58 PM »
In many jurisdictions speed in excess of 100 is considered attempted manslaughter

Online Huzo

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Re: NGC - Common traffic collision question
« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2022, 03:20:10 PM »
In many jurisdictions speed in excess of 100 is considered attempted manslaughter
If manslaughter is killing without intent to do so, how can you attempt to do something that you don’t intend ?

Also.
If you make a turn in front of someone (who is speeding) resulting in a collision, it goes without saying that the only reason he collided with you is because he arrived at the accident point sooner than if he’d been obeying the law.
So that gets us to the point that, it then becomes incumbent upon the turning driver to correctly ascertain that the approaching driver is speeding, clearly unreasonable.
As an example of my point...
If a driver makes a turn near the brow of a hill and correctly assesses that no one is oncoming and any oncoming vehicle, cannot enter the collision zone in the time it will take to safely complete that turn, he may go ahead and legally make the turn.
But if an approaching driver is travelling at say 85 mph in a 60 zone and is just short of eye contact with the turning driver as the turn is commenced, the speeding driver will enter the collision zone and a crash will occur.
Is it the responsibility of the turning driver to ascertain that there may be a speeding driver approaching and therefore not commence the turn ?
You should be able to complete your driving task, on the assumption that your fellow users are within the law. If you cannot safely and legally make that assumption, then you will always be open to inheriting a portion of blame in any traffic incident or accident.
Clearly an untenable situation.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2022, 04:32:58 AM by Huzo »

Offline yogidozer

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Re: NGC - Common traffic collision question
« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2022, 03:42:21 PM »
One of the first things I was taught about driving was when you see or hear an emergency vehicle you pull over.
Someone's life is in danger. I never questioned that.

Offline T Peterson

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Re: NGC - Common traffic collision question
« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2022, 04:11:33 PM »
In Minnesota the statute reads: The driver of any vehicle traveling at an unlawful speed shall forfeit any right-of-way which the driver might otherwise have hereunder.

I learned that in Driver's Ed in 1967 and still remember it!

The statute also reads: This subdivision does not operate to relieve the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of persons using the highways
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Offline yogidozer

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Re: NGC - Common traffic collision question
« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2022, 04:23:17 PM »
T Peterson, I wasn't speaking about due regard for the safety of persons using the highways.
I just meant if an emergency vehicle is in your area, pull over, let them by.
I'm pretty old, never seen a reckless emergency vehicle.
Some day it might be a family member or friend of yours.

Online Moparnut72

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Re: NGC - Common traffic collision question
« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2022, 05:20:45 PM »
A co-worker was a volunteer fireman. He was driving the firetruck to a fire. He was cooking and a cop got behind him. He thought he had a police escort. When he got to his destination the cop told him he better drive the speed limit next time. This was 50 years ago though. When I lived in a small town in very northeastern Cali I was also a volunteer fireman. I was driving one of our engines to a fire once covering our neighboring town. I had my throttle foot flat on the floor. I barely got over 50 mph. I was driving a 1953 White with 3 cylinder Detroit diesel. That truck was a real ball of fire!   :grin:
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Online LowRyter

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Re: NGC - Common traffic collision question
« Reply #20 on: January 22, 2022, 06:22:56 PM »
Totally agree that anyone traveling that fast would be at fault.  Speeding negates left turn into traffic.  But I wouldn't count on the same defense 10 or 15 over.  The speed would be disputed.  There would have to be evidence that damage at impact or skid marks that would confirm excessive speed.  Most wrecks aren't caught on helicopter camera. 

I have another one for you.  I suppose it would've been my fault.   I made a left turn on a four lane road in two way traffic.  The two left lanes are clear.  Traffic to my right has the near lane open but far lane with traffic.  When I turn towards the clear lane, another car makes a pass and occupies the lane I'm turning into.  I stop in the middle of the road to let the passing car go.  Luckily I wasn't "threading the needle" and had no issue with oncoming traffic from my left.   The guy was speeding (perhaps not excessively), didn't attempt to slow and was weaving in traffic passing cars as I followed him.  I'm not sure if he didn't see me or didn't care. 

If we had collided, I would've been at fault.  I can also think how I ride a motorcycle and weave through traffic, food for thought on that.
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Offline aklawok

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Re: NGC - Common traffic collision question
« Reply #21 on: January 23, 2022, 01:56:53 AM »
 I think that you can simplify the at fault determination in this scenario in  that the mc. in this case in the commission of a criminal act, be it evading, speeding or reckless driving, even if the turning motorist was encroaching in the lane, however had the mc. been within his legal limits fault goes to the merging vehicle for failure to yield.
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Offline marcmorrison

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Re: NGC - Common traffic collision question
« Reply #22 on: January 23, 2022, 06:34:09 AM »
From the criminal side of this scenario, each state jurisdiction would have a different standard of culpability; on the civil side, contributory negligence would likely dictate the final outcome.
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Re: NGC - Common traffic collision question
« Reply #23 on: January 23, 2022, 07:35:14 AM »
I have been an Expert Witness for a couple of trials, one in which the passenger died. As far as I know, in SC, comparative guilt is used to determine the level or percentage of contribution of all parties to the collision. Due Diligence is always considered.

Offline aklawok

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Re: NGC - Common traffic collision question
« Reply #24 on: January 24, 2022, 01:54:40 AM »
From the criminal side of this scenario, each state jurisdiction would have a different standard of culpability; on the civil side, contributory negligence would likely dictate the final outcome.
I get what you are saying about "contributory negligence" but don't feel it really applies here. but in a different scenario, say where two vehicles are speeding and operating in a reckless manner and collide (like street racing perhaps) who bares the burden of fault?
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