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  • Left turn question

    At an intersection controlled by traffic lights, a northbound car wants to make a left turn. The light is green but there is oncoming traffic. The left-turner creeps forward into the intersection to wait for a gap in the oncoming traffic (legal in ohio).

    There is so much oncoming traffic that the light eventually turns yellow. The left-turner sees another oncoming car but knows the light will be red before that car reaches the intersection, so he makes his left.

    Left-turner claims the light turned red before the oncoming car entered the intersection, but the oncoming car ran the red by 1/4 second, and hits the rear passenger fender of the left turner while the left-turner is in mid-turn.

    The oncoming car claims it was still yellow, but independant witnesses confirm the light was red for 1/4 second before the oncoming car passed the stop line.

    - Is the left turner guilty of of failure to yield? (Ohio law says the left turner may not make the turn if there is a car "so close to the intersection as to pose an immediate hazard." Although this section doesn't mention red lights, another section prohibits running a red)

    - Is the oncoming car guilty of running the red? (duh)

    - If your jurisdiction asks you to make a decision on fault, then how would you assign fault.
    Last edited by JohnG; 08-08-2008, 06:47 PM.

  • #2
    I would list the cause as the vehicle that ran the red light here in Ca.
    Today's Quote:

    "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."
    Albert Einstein

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    • #3
      Florida is a no fault state, but I would personally write both drivers a ticket in the situation you described, and let the insurance companies battle out the civil damages.

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      • #4
        You defintely have an idependent witness that confirms one vehicle ran the red light and assigns fault. The other vehicle needed to clear the intersection and did so. The cause or 1st harmful event resulted because the vehicle ran the red light. Had he stopped no crash would have occurred. The other vehicle is not at fault. One cannot fail to yield right of way when there is no right of way. The car running the red light did not have the right of way, he had the duty to stop. Only one vehicle at fault. Running steady red signal.

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        • #5
          Thanks for the responses. I have heard that in some states the fault would be start with the left-turner unless there was proof of the oncoming car running a red - but that would only make it 50/50.

          Probably best to assume they will run the red and only make the left when you know they are stopping.

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          • #6
            As long as you have supporting witnesses who state and confirm that the through vehicle failed to stop for the red traffic signal, the PCF for the collision is "Failure to stop for a red traffic signal." The left turning vehicle fulfilled his obligation to yield and had a further obligation to lawfully clear the intersection once the signal for N/S traffic had turned red.
            Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence!

            [George Washington (1732 - 1799)]

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            • #7
              Disagree... the primary duty of a driver turning left at an intersection is to yield to oncoming traffic, regardless of condition of the lights. Sounds weird, because we are all conditioned to think of the 'red light runners' as the cause of the accident, but the greater fault lies with the guy turning in front.

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              • #8
                This is the law as stated in the California Vehicle Code. It pretty much reflects similar laws in other states concerning Rights of Way and Red Lights.

                Left-Turn or U-Turn

                21801.

                (a) The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left or to complete a U-turn upon a highway, or to turn left into public or private property, or an alley, shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching from the opposite direction which are close enough to constitute a hazard at any time during the turning movement, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to the approaching vehicles until the left turn or U-turn can be made with reasonable safety.

                (b) A driver having yielded as prescribed in subdivision (a), and having given a signal when and as required by this code, may turn left or complete a U-turn, and the drivers of vehicles approaching the intersection or the entrance to the property or alley from the opposite direction shall yield the right-of-way to the turning vehicle.

                Amended Ch. 272, Stats. 1993. Effective August 2, 1993.
                Circular Red or Red Arrow

                21453. (a) A driver facing a steady circular red signal alone shall stop at a marked limit line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if none, then before entering the intersection, and shall remain stopped until an indication to proceed is shown, except as provided in subdivision (b).

                (b) Except when a sign is in place prohibiting a turn, a driver, after stopping as required by subdivision (a), facing a steady circular red signal, may turn right, or turn left from a one-way street onto a one-way street. A driver making that turn shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk and to any vehicle that has approached or is approaching so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard to the driver, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to that vehicle until the driver can proceed with reasonable safety.

                (c) A driver facing a steady red arrow signal shall not enter the intersection to make the movement indicated by the arrow and, unless entering the intersection to make a movement permitted by another signal, shall stop at a clearly marked limit line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if none, then before entering the intersection, and shall remain stopped until an indication permitting movement is shown.

                (d) Unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian control signal as provided in Section 21456, a pedestrian facing a steady circular red or red arrow signal shall not enter the roadway.

                Amended Sec. 1, Ch. 14, Stats. 2001. Effective January 1, 2002.
                The driver intending to turn left who has yielded to all approaching traffic has a reasonable expectation that such approaching traffic will be in compliance and stop when facing a RED signal. Under CA law, that driver has the right of way and the witnesses support the fact that the opposing driver ran a red signal!

                Once within the intersection, a driver must, by law, clear the intersection and has the right of way over cross traffic when the signal changes.

                Circular Green or Green Arrow

                21451. (a) A driver facing a circular green signal shall proceed straight through or turn right or left or make a U-turn unless a sign prohibits a U-turn. Any driver, including one turning, shall yield the right-of-way to other traffic and to pedestrians lawfully within the intersection or an adjacent crosswalk.

                (b) A driver facing a green arrow signal, shown alone or in combination with another indication, shall enter the intersection only to make the movement indicated by that green arrow or any other movement that is permitted by other indications shown at the same time. A driver facing a left green arrow may also make a U-turn unless prohibited by a sign. A driver shall yield the right-of-way to other traffic and to pedestrians lawfully within the intersection or an adjacent crosswalk.

                (c) A pedestrian facing a circular green signal, unless prohibited by sign or otherwise directed by a pedestrian control signal as provided in Section 21456, may proceed across the roadway within any marked or unmarked crosswalk, but shall yield the right-of-way to vehicles lawfully within the intersection at the time that signal is first shown.

                (d) A pedestrian facing a green arrow turn signal, unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian control signal as provided in Section 21456, shall not enter the roadway.

                Amended Ch. 413, Stats. 1981. Effective January 1, 1982.
                If no witnesses are present to support the statements of the left turniing driver, I might decide the other way; but, witnesses should be considered unbiased and independant observers and their statements given credence when they are voluntary and unbiased.
                Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence!

                [George Washington (1732 - 1799)]

                Comment


                • #9
                  Unless that's a specific AZ statute, I can not imagine any scenario where one motorist is legally required to yield to another vehicle that is commiting a traffic infraction. That would be the same as be cited for entering the intersection with a green signal but in getting hit by another car running the red light.

                  The vehicle in the intersection has the right of way over another vehicle entering the intersection against a red signal.

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                  • #10
                    I don't understand how someone running a red light would have the right of way at an intersection. The person turning left was in the intersection when the light was green and when it was yellow he has to clear the intersection. If the light turned red before the oncoming car reached the intersection he is not only in violation of running the red light, but in violation of not slowing down for the yellow light. If it turned red before even entering he or she definately had time to stop. If this were true in AZ I'm going to move there and whenever I needed a new car I would blow red lights and crash into people because for some crazy reason it wouldn't be my fault.

                    Originally posted by JI603 View Post
                    Disagree... the primary duty of a driver turning left at an intersection is to yield to oncoming traffic, regardless of condition of the lights. Sounds weird, because we are all conditioned to think of the 'red light runners' as the cause of the accident, but the greater fault lies with the guy turning in front.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Well the one that ran the red light would definitely be at fault. With that said, the guy making the left should have waited until the vehicle coming from the other direction had stopped or at least slowed down. The guy making a left doesn't need to freak out about running a red light because he's already in the intersection and past the stop bar.

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