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View Full Version : Failure To Maintain Lane Question


Imbondz
04-11-04, 03:40 PM
On Feb 28th, I was issued a ticket for 'failure to maintain lane'. I was following a truck who at the last second decided to make a right turn into a gas station. In my best judgment, I felt it best to go around him (crossing a double yellow line) rather than to stop quickly and risk someone behind me smashing into me. It was a 30 mph road. There was no oncoming traffic. The officer was at least two cars behind (possibly further), and could not have known that the truck did not turn his signal on, and made a last second turn into the gas station.

If I was following too close, which I do not believe I was, the officer should have given me a ticket for tailgating, which he did not. Do I have any defense that will hold up in court to fight this ticket? My main issue is that the officer was well behind the situation, and could not have known the exact circumstances for me to go around the truck. All he saw was a driver crossing a double lane. Help.


gdowkpc
04-11-04, 04:32 PM
Absolutely right. The ticket for failure to maintain lane would be easier for the officer to prove than for following too closely, since he was 2 cars back. One could easily deduce that you were following too closely since yous said you went around him to avoid a collision.

Many people say they did not stop for a red light because they feared that the person behind them would not stop. This is a poor excuse on many levels.

1) You don't know that.

2) They are responsible if they do.

3) You cannot judge how fast they were going or how far they are behind you by looking in the mirror, and especially for the quick millisecond one may have glanced before making the decision. A mirror reflects in 2 dimensions and you need 3 to quickly and accurately judge an objects position in space. (Try driving around with one eye closed and see how weird it is when judging speed and distance.)

Quite frankly, I think the true answer is momentum. We are a momentum based society. This is why we don't make complete stops at stop signs and bicyclists run them all together. We want to keep moving.

Maybe you didn't want to slow. It is more efficient, time-wise, to maintain the maximum amount of speed and simply go around the obstacle and wait for it to clear.

Imbondz
04-11-04, 05:24 PM
LOL. So, you're saying I don't have a chance, is that right? I have no idea where the officer was, he could have been a mile behind me. So, there is no judgment call in that situation? Every ticket is black and white? The truck in front of me never used his blinker when making the quick decision to make a right, no way the officer could have seen that. I believe my actions avoided a possible accident.


marine19860222
04-11-04, 05:29 PM
Absolutely right. The ticket for failure to maintain lane would be easier for the officer to prove than for following too closely, since he was 2 cars back. One could easily deduce that you were following too closely since yous said you went around him to avoid a collision.

Many people say they did not stop for a red light because they feared that the person behind them would not stop. This is a poor excuse on many levels.

1) You don't know that.

2) They are responsible if they do.

3) You cannot judge how fast they were going or how far they are behind you by looking in the mirror, and especially for the quick millisecond one may have glanced before making the decision. A mirror reflects in 2 dimensions and you need 3 to quickly and accurately judge an objects position in space. (Try driving around with one eye closed and see how weird it is when judging speed and distance.)

Quite frankly, I think the true answer is momentum. We are a momentum based society. This is why we don't make complete stops at stop signs and bicyclists run them all together. We want to keep moving.

Maybe you didn't want to slow. It is more efficient, time-wise, to maintain the maximum amount of speed and simply go around the obstacle and wait for it to clear. The whole thing about having someone behind you is not a poor excuse. I always am concerned about that because i got hit in the back from 50 mph in a hit and run so im always paranoid about it now.

gdowkpc
04-11-04, 05:42 PM
TO MARINE:

Was it your fault that you got rearended? No, it never is. I got hit when someone turned left in front of me. It's happened twice and was twice their fault. Does that mean I should travel in oncoming lanes when approaching an oncoming vehicle who wants to turn left ahead?

Of course not. I should continue to follow the traffic rules. If I disobey them, I deserve to be ticketed. My past experiences does not legitimize breaking the law. I may get into a collision again when someone else turns left in front of me. Again, it will be their fault, but I should not go to such lengths to protect myself as to endanger other people.

This is what you are doing when you run a red light or cross over double-yellows.

And to the original poster, you don't have to take my word for it. I base my opinion on what I have seen judges rule in the courtroom. You don't have to believe me, go see your own judge.

marine19860222
04-11-04, 05:45 PM
so gdowkpc whats it like being an officer in oregon, is there a lot of action there?

Imbondz
04-11-04, 06:17 PM
No, i'm not here to argue at all but to get expert opinions. Just playing devil's advocate I guess. I take all your expert advice seriously, and it's appreciated.

mcsap
04-12-04, 04:47 AM
Initially, your response/reaction had some merit. Nobody wants to be in a crash. But your actual driving over the double line was ( IMHO) more hazardous and likely to cause an accident than simply hitting the brakes.

Scruit
04-12-04, 09:08 AM
I've been nearly rear-ended a couple of times, several time's I've had to set off at high speed to give the other drive more stopping distance to avoid the collision and actually hit once (because I had to stop for a red and the drive behind me was too close). The difference with me was I would try to avoid the accident IF the avoidance maneuver was safe. I drew the line at running the red and had to just let him hit me.

However the risk involved in running a red light (or in your case, crossing the double-yellow) is orders of magnitude greater than the risk in being rear-ended. In my case there was a few hundred dollars worh of damage to my car which his insurance paid some of.

Think about what would have happened if you had crashed into an oncoming car. I've been there also, and it's not fun. Like "spend a few weeks in hospital" kind of not-fun.


To play devil's advocate for a moment for everyone:
1) Would you, as an LEO, have more sympathy for the "He was gonna rear-end me" excuse if the driver had a baby in a childseat in the back of the car.

2) Gdow: When I was rear-ended, the other driver claimed in his police report that I swerved into his lane and slammed the brakes on suddenly. The police report said; "Fault Undetermined", nobody was cited and his insurance company refused to pay the full amount. After a lot of arguing they finally offered me 75%. I learned that day that someone rear-ending you does NOT mean that he is going to be HELD to be at fault. :mad:

gdowkpc
04-12-04, 01:01 PM
If what the other guy is saying is a lie, and it was a simple same lane rearender with no other factors, I would not be satisfied. I would consider suing the other company. May be more trouble than it's worth.

Nothing like a liar when you a dealing with a situation like this. And it seems to be getting more difficult to find a witness for these more minor collisions.

Scruit
04-12-04, 01:21 PM
Yeah, the intersectionb was so busy the witnesses were all gone before we even got out of the cars.

I HAD entered his lane, but over a quarter of a mile before the intersection. He spent the rest of that quarter-mile tailgating me with both hands in the air signalling "WHAT are you doing?". When we eventually reached the red light I had to choose between stopping or running it. Of course that decision took 0.0001secs and I stopped, but tried to stop slowly so he could back off. He still hit me.

The amount of the damages was around $500. His insurance paid me $375 and stonewalled me from that point. It wasn't worth suing for $125. Now that I'm a little older and wiser I realise they would have given me the $125 rather than defend it in court - I would have just needed to file papers in Small Claims, but back then I would have needed the advice of a lawyer even to do that because I was so new to the US.

The other mistake I made was accepting his apologies and insurance details. Becasue I saw almost no damage on the outside (broken license plate light, that was it) and we had already moved the cars from the roadway (4 lanes in each direction, VERY busy) I didn't think it was worth calling the police to the scene - I filed the police report about an hour later after our insurance agent said we needed a report to say a collision had occured.

When the officer went to the other guy's house he was told that I was stuck in the turn lane and swerved into his lane less than 50' form the light and slammed my brake on. The officer contacted us back and said he couldn't make a determination on fault, and becauyse of the conflicting stories and no witnesses he couldn't cite anyone (either him for ACDA or me for FTML/Unsafe Lanechange).

Then we went for bodyshop estimates. Bumper mounts were damaged. $500.

There was a gas station next to the crash scene but they refused to even entertain the notion of letting the police review thier forecourt cameras to see if they caught the accident.

Lessons learned:

1) I WILL call the police to the scene. I will still move the vehicles if they pose a safety hazard, but otherwise not.

2) I have a 'crash kit' in all of of my cars with flares, accident questionnaire anddisposable camera, plus the non-emergency #'s of every police dept that I regularly drive through

3) Don't believe anyone who amdits fault in exchange for immediate cashpayout or just not calling the police. Get insurance info - better yet let the responding officer get that info. Take pictures of license numbers all round the scene so there is a future option of locating potential witnesses. Contact local businesses withint eyesight (the same day) and ask them to provide the police with contact info for any employee who saw the accident.

OCD, me? No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, not me. No.

Stump
04-15-04, 07:34 PM
GDow hit it on the head, in my opinion. :)
Good luck if you decide to fight it. Let us know what happens.