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How fast is too fast?

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  • How fast is too fast?

    There is a road that I drive every day where oncoming cars always seem to make dangerous left turns in front of me. I thought this road was 45mph and I usually drive between 40 and 45 on it. Found out this morning that it's really a 35 limit.

    Question: If a car makes a left turn into the path of an oncoming car causing a crash, and the oncoming car admits to doing 45 in a 35... Do you assign any fault to the oncoming car due to it's speed? The road is flat, straight and has visibility out to about 1,000' The onciming car can be seen clearly, but the left-turner says the oncoming car was speeding and they could have made the turn if the oncoming car had been doing the speed limit.

    If 45 is not fast enough to assign any blame to the oncoming car, then what about 55mph? 65mph?


    Of course, for me, I'll drive the road at 35 now. But just wondering - there have been a few times where I had to do an emergency stop for people turning left in front of me - that's why I have been driving the road at 5mph less than what I thought the speed limit was.

  • #2
    10 mph over the speed limit probably would not be enough to put that vehicle at fault. If they were traveling so fast that a driver using reasonable caution were to hit them the speeding vehicle may be considered at fault or share part of the liability. Other factors also come into play such as traffic conditions, road conditions, weather conditions and the presence of signals.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by JohnG View Post
      Do you assign any fault to the oncoming car due to it's speed?
      This is a common misconception. We do not assign fault during a motor vehicle collision investigation. Law enforcement simply investigates the facts of the incident and includes them in a report. During the investigation if you find that a law has been violated you may file charges against a driver- but this is not an assessment of fault.

      The assignment of fault lies in the civil courts and insurance companies. These are the folks who assign responsibility for the crash 30/70 or 20/80 etc.
      ---Cut the red wire---

      Comment


      • #4
        Insurance companies are more likely to apportion blame. We investigate whether or not any offences contributed to the accident and if one or both both drivers committed an offence that contributed, they will receive an infringement notice through the mail or a summons to go to court.
        If at first you don't succeed, remove all evidence of your attempt.

        Comment


        • #5
          In California, if an investigation discloses that one driver turned left in front of approaching traffic, that driver is generally found to be the offending driver:

          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
          Speed in CA is determined by a number of factors on roadways not posted with the MAXIMUM speed limit - 65 MPH or 70 MPH.

          Excessive Speed and Designated Lane Use

          22348. (a) Notwithstanding subdivision (b) of Section 22351, a person shall not drive a vehicle upon a highway with a speed limit established pursuant to Section 22349 or 22356 at a speed greater than that speed limit.

          (b) A person who drives a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than 100 miles per hour is guilty of an infraction punishable, as follows:

          (1) Upon a first conviction of a violation of this subdivision, by a fine of not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500). The court may also suspend the privilege of the person to operate a motor vehicle for a period not to exceed 30 days pursuant to Section 13200.5.

          (2) Upon a conviction under this subdivision of an offense that occurred within three years of a prior offense resulting in a conviction of an offense under this subdivision, by a fine of not to exceed seven hundred fifty dollars ($750). The person’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle shall be suspended by the Department of Motor Vehicles pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 13355.

          (3) Upon a conviction under this subdivision of an offense that occurred within five years of two or more prior offenses resulting in convictions of offenses under this subdivision, by a fine of not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000). The person’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle shall be suspended by the Department of Motor Vehicles pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 13355.

          (c) A vehicle subject to Section 22406 shall be driven in a lane designated pursuant to Section 21655, or if a lane has not been so designated, in the right-hand lane for traffic or as close as practicable to the right-hand edge or curb. When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction, the driver shall use either the designated lane, the lane to the immediate left of the right-hand lane, or the right-hand lane for traffic as permitted under this code. If, however, specific lane or lanes have not been designated on a divided highway having four or more clearly marked lanes for traffic in one direction, a vehicle may also be driven in the lane to the immediate left of the right-hand lane, unless otherwise prohibited under this code. This subdivision does not apply to a driver who is preparing for a left- or right-hand turn or who is in the process of entering into or exiting from a highway or to a driver who is required necessarily to drive in a lane other than the right-hand lane to continue on his or her intended route.

          Amended Sec. 1, Ch. 300, Stats. 2004. Effective January 1, 2005.

          Maximum Speed Limit

          22349. (a) Except as provided in Section 22356, no person may drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than 65 miles per hour.

          (b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person may drive a vehicle upon a two-lane, undivided highway at a speed greater than 55 miles per hour unless that highway, or portion thereof, has been posted for a higher speed by the Department of Transportation or appropriate local agency upon the basis of an engineering and traffic survey. For purposes of this subdivision, the following apply:

          (1) A two-lane, undivided highway is a highway with not more than one through lane of travel in each direction.

          (2) Passing lanes may not be considered when determining the number of through lanes.

          (c) It is the intent of the Legislature that there be reasonable signing on affected two-lane, undivided highways described in subdivision (b) in continuing the 55 miles-per-hour speed limit, including placing signs at county boundaries to the extent possible, and at other appropriate locations.

          Amended and Repealed Sec. 22, Ch. 766, Stats. 1995. Effective January 1, 1996. Repeal operative March 31, 1996.
          Added Sec. 23, Ch. 766, Stats. 1995. Effective January 1, 1996. Operative March 31, 1996.
          Amended Sec. 1, Ch. 20, Stats. 1996. Effective March 29, 1996.
          Amended Sec. 41, Ch. 724, Stats. 1999. Effective January 1, 2000.
          Basic Speed Law

          22350. No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.


          Amended Ch. 252, Stats. 1963. Effective September 20, 1963.
          Increase of Freeway Speed Limit to 70 Miles Per Hour

          22356. (a) Whenever the Department of Transportation, after consultation with the Department of the California Highway Patrol, determines upon the basis of an engineering and traffic survey on existing highway segments, or upon the basis of appropriate design standards and projected traffic volumes in the case of newly constructed highway segments, that a speed greater than 65 miles per hour would facilitate the orderly movement of vehicular traffic and would be reasonable and safe upon any state highway, or portion thereof, that is otherwise subject to a maximum speed limit of 65 miles per hour, the Department of Transportation, with the approval of the Department of the California Highway Patrol, may declare a higher maximum speed of 70 miles per hour for vehicles not subject to Section 22406, and shall cause appropriate signs to be erected giving notice thereof. The Department of Transportation shall only make a determination under this section that is fully consistent with, and in full compliance with, federal law.

          (b) No person shall drive a vehicle upon that highway at a speed greater than 70 miles per hour, as posted.

          (c) This section shall become operative on the date specified in subdivision (c) of Section 22366.

          Amended Ch. 1220, Stats. 1994. Effective September 30, 1994.
          Amended and repealed Sec. 26, Ch. 766, Stats. 1995. Effective January 1, 1996. Repeal operative January 7, 1996.
          Added Sec. 27, Ch. 766, Stats. 1995. Effective January 1, 1996. Operative January 7, 1996.

          Under the Basic Speed Law a driver may be able to prove that a specific speed above the posted speed is safe; however, if that speed is above the MAXIMUM allowed speed limit, that driver may be found at fault.
          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


          • #6
            The only time the police department will assign fault is for criminal proceedings, ie drunk driving that resulted in injury. Otherwise a traffic crash is a civil issue and the insurance companies hash it out.

            Note that even with criminal charges, the civil portion of the crash (ie fixing your car, paying hospital bills, etc) is still up to the insurance companies.
            I miss you, Dave.
            http://www.odmp.org/officer/20669-of...david-s.-moore

            Comment


            • #7
              Speed isnt so much of the issue as attentive driving.

              I hear what youre saying about the oncoming driver speeding and having to slow down because of his speed and sharp turn. But one issue I havent seen addressed here is, whether that car is doing 35 or 85, you as another motorist have the reponsibility of being aware of your surroundings. If you hit the other driver and say its his fault because he was speeding, you are also at fault for inattentive driving. You should always be aware of your surroundings and ready to react safely (within reason) to unsafe activities of other drivers, "defensive driving". As far as the speed issue goes, 10 over the limit in a low speed zone aka school, crosswalk, or residential area to ME is unreasonable and yes I would most likely cite the driver for speeding in excess, ESPECIALLY on a sharp curve or turn. 10 over on a highway is different, I wouldnt consider that excessive due to the fact that highways are generally understood to contain fast moving traffic.

              Comment


              • #8
                It depends on the state whether or not fault is assigned. At my agency we are required to assess who is at fault on state or city road as well as issue the appropriate citations. Parking lots we do not assign fault or issue citations, unless it is a special case DUI etc. Each state will have its own speed regulations. In mine 10 over is enough for a citation, but I would have a hard time assessing a driver for just going 10 over if that is their only contributing factor. Hope that helps.
                Last edited by kw74; 07-31-2008, 10:04 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hey driver. If you make the left turn you better make sure that you are yielding to oncoming traffic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I deal with these type of people everyday that cause collisions. It doesn't matter if the vehicle is driving at light speed, you, the driver making a left hand turn, have the sole responsibility of making sure you can clear how ever many lanes you need to, without causing a collision. So if you are afraid of somebody speeding, which THEY ALL ARE!!!!, then wait until you do not see a single vehicle coming toward you, and proceed to make your left hand turn.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by USCKURT View Post
                    Hey driver. If you make the left turn you better make sure that you are yielding to oncoming traffic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I deal with these type of people everyday that cause collisions. It doesn't matter if the vehicle is driving at light speed, you, the driver making a left hand turn, have the sole responsibility of making sure you can clear how ever many lanes you need to, without causing a collision. So if you are afraid of somebody speeding, which THEY ALL ARE!!!!, then wait until you do not see a single vehicle coming toward you, and proceed to make your left hand turn.
                    In 99% of cases I would agree with you. I do know of an intersection where if the oncoming car is exceeding the speed limit by more than 20 then you can't see them from the left-turn position. You see nothing but clear road ahead of you, then you set off and ?? Fortunately that intersection is about to be redone as part of a widening project.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Seems to me (yep, that would be me who has never taken a TC report - God bless CHP and our agreement with them!) that no matter how fast the oncoming car is, you certainly bear a big part of the responsiblity for the crash if you cut him off with your left turn. You need to gauge his speed and decide if you have time to complete the turn; you can't just glance at the car and assume he is going the speed limit. The car making the left turn has the duty to yield to the car going straight, no matter what the speed is.
                      Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

                      I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ateamer View Post
                        Seems to me (yep, that would be me who has never taken a TC report - God bless CHP and our agreement with them!) that no matter how fast the oncoming car is, you certainly bear a big part of the responsiblity for the crash if you cut him off with your left turn. You need to gauge his speed and decide if you have time to complete the turn; you can't just glance at the car and assume he is going the speed limit. The car making the left turn has the duty to yield to the car going straight, no matter what the speed is.
                        Agreed, 99% of the time. See my post above yours for the local exception.

                        I never make a left turn at that intersection - there was a major accident there a couple minutes before I passed - I got there as the emergency crews were arriving. Heard on the news later that night that a Left-turning Taurus was t-boned in the rear door so hard the child in a baby seat was killed. Bad news.
                        Last edited by JohnG; 08-11-2008, 06:19 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Failure to yield when turning left....
                          Speed
                          a twofer

                          Comment

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