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Old 04-07-2013, 07:19 PM
 
5 posts, read 6,441 times
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My 20 yo son was in his first driving accident last weekend. He was traveling down mill creek road (deep creek) and at the intersection of George Washington hwy the light turned yellow as he approached that intersection. He decided it was best to drive through as not to slam on brakes and while doing so a truck made a left hand turn in front of him, turning onto George Washington hwy. My son hit the truck in its rear and got a ticket. The driver did not. We do not understand that, but we weren't there, so we don't know what was said by the policeman. My son has a hard time communicating his thoughts/ideas sometimes, plus being shaken up by the accident, it's been difficult to understand why he got the ticket. He received a ticket for:
§ 46.2-820. Right-of-way at uncontrolled intersections, generally.

Except as otherwise provided in this article, when two vehicles approach or enter an uncontrolled intersection at approximately the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right.

The problem is, the intersection is controlled with stop lights. Also, written underneath the number is "failure to yield the right of way." So which is it? And doesn't he have the right of way since he's going straight on?

I'm writing this in hopes some nice policeman or lawyer can explain it to me, before we go to court. This is his first ticket as well. Thanks in advance.
Mom from Chesapeake
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Old 04-08-2013, 04:21 PM
 
Location: Land of Thought and Flow
8,321 posts, read 14,075,405 times
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I would definitely contact the officer if your son has a hard time communicating. He may be leaving details out - things like the possibility that he sped up to make it through the intersection and whatnot. Get the officer's story.

As for the other driver not getting a ticket, I can believe it. Some years back, an elderly gentleman barreled through a stop-sign he didn't see and slammed into my car that he also didn't see and the police officer did not ticket him at all.
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Old 04-08-2013, 08:06 PM
 
Location: Williamsburg Va.
95 posts, read 165,716 times
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The only way the truck could have been in that intersection was because he had a green light. Also since he was turning left, I doubt he made a jack rabbit start. This tells me that the light had turned red for your son a at least 2 full seconds BEFORE your son even entered the intersection,(do the math). The only ways a situation like this can occur is; inattentiveness, speeding, distractions, impatience, recklessness, or you truly believe a tiger was put in your tank with that last full-up, and can now hit lightspeed with a mere touch of the throttle.
Sounds to me that some nice policeman gave your son a heck of a break! I would think long, and hard about contesting this ticket. Only 2 things will happen if you do. The cop will tell the WHOLE story, and I can guarantee the judge won't like it. OR, the prosecution could amend the charge to the more serious offense(s). Keep in mind they have the other drivers statements/testimony.
Have a talk with your son. Make sure he has learned something. Remind him that the yellow light means caution, and it's a good idea to always err on *this* side of it.
Sorry to sound so harsh Mom.

Last edited by runzwithsizorz; 04-08-2013 at 08:24 PM..
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Old 04-08-2013, 08:56 PM
 
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Thank you both for your responses. I appreciate the opinions.
The other driver actually could have had a green arrow, yellow arrow or green light at the intersection. And if he had a green light there is a big sign saying they must yield to oncoming traffic. The only way I know is that we went back and took pictures of the intersection.
Any thoughts on the way the tickets was written? Uncontrolled intersection? This was a controlled intersection with stop lights not uncontrolled.
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Old 04-09-2013, 12:44 AM
 
Location: Williamsburg Va.
95 posts, read 165,716 times
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Seems I misunderstood you. Your son and the truck were coming AT each other, essentially on the same road. Your son going north on Mill Creek Parkway, and the truck approaching going south on George Washington Highway making a left at the intersection with the 7-11 to continue on it, correct???
It would have helped me to better visualize had you said your son had tagged, or hit the SIDE of the truck, and not the "rear",
sorry about that. This changes things a bit. If the truck had a green arrow, then your son would still be at fault, for there to be an arrow your sons light would have to have been red. However, if the truck had a green light he would have to yield to your son, as the sign there says. I know this for I have already downloaded pictures of the scene.
Somehow the cop made a determination, or assumption, Hmmmm. Trust me, when a cop is called to a scene, somebodies gonna get cited for something. Sometimes they do this by the mere statements of witnesses. Can your son remember exactly what he said to the cop? He may have unwittingly admitted guilt. If he told the cop that he sped up to make the light, THAT right there is a red flag to him. Oh, and by the way, another lesson your son, and others to learn, never, EVER talk to the cops, no matter how innocent, or innocuous you think his questions, or your answers are, no good can come from it!
It is their goal, and duty to gather info to use against you, and they will even lie to get it. Was the truck driver alone? Were there any other witnesses, or statements taken? Did your son, IN FACT, enter the intersection with the light still yellow?
How the ticket was written, or controlled intersection or not, has no bearing.

Last edited by runzwithsizorz; 04-09-2013 at 01:13 AM..
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:57 AM
 
5 posts, read 6,441 times
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Yes you have the directions correct now, sorry for confusion. Unfortunately I think this will be chalked up to "a learning experience for parents and especially son. Because of his communication issues I would not be surprised at all that he spoke wrong or twisted something around. Or even talked too much. Live and learn. He especially gets flustered when put on the spot. But it's something he's got to work through.
We have tried to speak to the policeman, but have had no luck. That would help tremendously.
He said the light was yellow when he was at intersection, he's not one to lie, but wondering if he was honest with policeman and said he sped up to get through it, not seeing that there was anything wrong with that... Just knowing him, I'm thinking that may be why the ticket.
Thanks so much again, it helps considerably! Now, whether or not to go to court. We already have him taking safe driving class, wonder if court will help or not.
Mom
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Old 04-09-2013, 01:49 PM
 
Location: Williamsburg Va.
95 posts, read 165,716 times
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If your son had simply said to the cop, I don't know what happened, or the truck pulled in front of me, and nothing more, and the other driver said pretty much the same thing, (hopefully more), it becomes a he said, she said scenario. Then, barring any other witnesses, and the lack of any physical evidence the cop could only write a citation based on his *assumptions*. Like I said, the cop is gonna write somebody up, but it is now up to the court to decide guilt, and thus fault,(can you say insurance?).
I have no doubt that you, and your son have learned a few things. Thank goodness these lessons weren't too terribly expensive, we both know it could have been a lot worse. I cannot stress this enough, never talk to the cops, they know all the tricks, and things to ask in order to get you to indite, or implicate yourself. Examples; Do you know how fast you were going? / You seem to be in a bit of a
hurry / Do you know what the speed limit is? / Where are you coming from? / etc. Any of these questions answered honestly by your honest son could be used to cook his goose.
You will probably not have much luck talking to, or even getting in touch with the citing policeman, remember, he is a witness for the prosecution. For a nominal fee, a lawyer could download your sons police report. a shame us mere peons cannot do the same, but you should know that they protect
their own. There is even a court in northern Virginia that forbids you from defending yourself. Think about that for a minute, either pay my friends, or plead guilty.
The safe driving coarse will definitely help your son, as well as a clean record. Don't worry too much if your young son gets a little flustered. Heck, I have grandkids older than he, and even I get flustered when put on the spot by the cops, or my wife.
I think it's groovy that you have chosen to get involved, show compassion, and learn WITH your son!
You are indeed, THE Chesapeake mom, and I wish you and yours well. Runz in Williamsburg
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Old 04-10-2013, 10:10 AM
 
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Could of, should of, would of types of questions being asked so no sense of looking at the past now because you can't change what has already been done...... but here is a little advice.

1)your son is 20 so he is an adult so the police can not discuss the case with you

2) your son is 20 and an adult so you will not be allowed to partake in the traffic court case in front of the judge

3. an accident is a civil judgement, the traffic ticket was issued because the officer had enough physical evidence at the accident scene or enough verbal statements from both drivers to find a violation of a traffic infraction which may of caused the accident to occur.

4)Your son will get a chance to testify in court on what happened. If your son has difficulty talking at a public type forum I would have your son write down what happened leading up to the accident, that way he can read that during court....

5) I would be more concerned with the insurance part of the accident. Again an accident is a civil case and it is not uncommon for insurance companies to find different fault then what a traffic court judge rules. I would be discussing this incident with my insurance company on where the fault will be determined
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Old 04-10-2013, 01:01 PM
 
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Thank you to all who responded. You helped out tremendously!
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Old 04-11-2013, 03:51 AM
 
Location: Williamsburg Va.
95 posts, read 165,716 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtandc View Post
Could of, should of, would of types of questions being asked so no sense of looking at the past now because you can't change what has already been done...... but here is a little advice.

Questions are one of the tools we use to examine a bad event in the past in order to avoid it in the future. The questions I have asked here in this thread are offered as an impetus to examine, and may well be asked in a courtroom. They may also be used for introspection.

1)your son is 20 so he is an adult so the police can not discuss the case with you

It is possible for a parent to maintain guardianship for a child over 18. Is that the case here? Don't know, we don't need to know. Though her concern, and hands on approach is food for thought, (just kidding). The odds of getting an audience, or phone conversation with the officer before the court date is slim, and none. However, impromptu meetings can, and do occur in the hallways of courthouses all the time. And some of these meetings can result with the officer having a favorable word with the prosecutor on your behalf. A concerned spouse, or parent in attendance may also be looked upon by the officer in a favorable light. He may well be a parent, or spouse himself, think about it.

2) your son is 20 and an adult so you will not be allowed to partake in the traffic court case in front of the judge

Okey Dokey, or as my granddaughter would say, WELL DUH!

3. an accident is a civil judgement, the traffic ticket was issued because the officer had enough physical evidence at the accident scene or enough verbal statements from both drivers to find a violation of a traffic infraction which may of caused the accident to occur.

Ah, and herein lies the rub, or the meat of the matter. Gone are the days when cops would put out flares, direct traffic, call an ambulance, assist victims, and just write an accident report. Nowadays, they are compelled to write someone a citation, and in most cases rightfully so.
BUT, not always! If you think these citations are handed out solely for the purpose of assigning blame, or fault, you would be wrong.
In this case I fail to see how there could be any incriminating physical evidence. If the only statements given were that of the drivers, and guess what Virginia, people lie, than the cop wrote an infraction based on statements, hearsay, and an assumption. These are not facts, and can thus be attacked in court.
The son says the light was yellow when he was at/in(?,mom please clarify), the intersection. I do not know what other statements he made. If incriminating, will they use it against him? No doubt, for in my opinion, it's all they have. Under defense cross it could be argued that the statements made were under duress, or there was some form of mental instability. Would it work? In front of a judge, and not a jury, iffy.


4)Your son will get a chance to testify in court on what happened. If your son has difficulty talking at a public type forum I would have your son write down what happened leading up to the accident, that way he can read that during court....

Whoa, lets not put the cart before the horse. Before court, and testimony, first comes her sons arraignment where the charges will be read, and he will be given the opportunity to answer one of two ways; guilty, or not guilty. He could also answer with, no contest, which is the same as guilty, or nolo contendere which is a term in a dead foreign language that lawyers use to make things complicated, and keep us little people in the dark. To the judge, it still means guilty. In the old days, one might also plead guilty with an explanation, but not anymore. The judge hasn't the time, or the patience to listen to a sob story, or how the sun got in your eyes. Besides, there's just too darn much money waiting in the aisles behind you. Headem up, movem out, rollin, rollin, rollin, keep that cash a flowin, sorry, I digress.
It is always a good idea to write down notes as soon as possible after an incident, while details are still fresh on your mind. These notes may also assist your council. Will you be able to read them during court? NOPE.

5) I would be more concerned with the insurance part of the accident. Again an accident is a civil case and it is not uncommon for insurance companies to find different fault then what a traffic court judge rules. I would be discussing this incident with my insurance company on where the fault will be determined
Insurance companies are going to do what they have always done, gouge us. And they spend millions of our dollars lobbying other gougers,(I.E. government), to continue doing so. Often they will raise rates regardless as to who is at fault. In the OP's instance, we are dealing with 2 things, the damage, and the citation. If the costs for the damage repairs can be paid out of pocket when you are at fault, this might be a better route to take. As an example; I asked my agent about making a claim for $1200 to cover damages I caused to another vehicle. He said fine, but the rate increase over the next 3 years would amount to $2600 with no real guarantee that the rate would go back down. Needless to say I paid out of pocket. Some agencies claim to have an accident forgiveness program, your mileage may vary. There was no citation given in my accident, and even if there was my agent may never have found out. I know for a fact that my agent hasn't checked my DMV record in at least 8 years. Again your milage may vary. When, or if an agency checks with the DMV, all they really see are points. The demerit points for the sons infraction is 4. By taking the driver improvement coarse he will earn 5.
Though it may require an attorney for the OP to get a copy of the citation report, she might find getting a copy of the accident report beneficial;--
Virginia State Police - Accident Report
If the Op, her son, or the truck driver have already filed a claim, then the cats out of the bag, and the wheels are turning. If by chance the son is on his parents policy, and they have multiple cars, home owners, and maybe an umbrella plan, the agency may think twice about raising their rates.
Then again, they might not care, they don't have to, a lot like your utility company. When you think about it, insurance is Americas first form of legalized, government sanctioned gambling. They are betting they won't have to pay out, and we are betting they will. Next time you see a huge skyscraper with an insurance logo on the side, think of it as a casino/hotel, and realize that millions are losing that bet.
Anyway, thankz for showing up and chiming in with your little advice there rtandc, don't think there's anything more I could add to it.
Peace, RUNZ

Last edited by runzwithsizorz; 04-11-2013 at 04:52 AM..
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