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    Got a ticket for an accident i did not cause

    Jurisdiction / State: Pennsylvania

    I was in an accident on May 15, 2010 in Pittsburgh, PA. I was in the turning lane and had a green light as I was going through the light to make a left the arrow turned yellow than to a green circle. A car coming towards me smashed into my right front passanger side. I was more than half way through the light but the cop, who didnt do a sobriety test or ask me for anything but my licences, said that no matter what if you make a left turn its your fault. They also claim to have a witness but I was watching the cop the whole time he didnt talk to anyone besides the people in the accident. I then got a ticket for failure to yeild right and a point on my licences. What should i do?


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    You are in a tough spot. Though you had a green light, you turned into oncoming traffic. Regardless of what the light shows, you are ultimately responsible for the safe operation of your vehicle. You need to make sure it is safe before crossing a lane of oncoming traffic.
    If the other person ran a light then there may be some shared responsibility, but it sounds as if you were cited for making an unsafe turn (meaning they probably felt that you tried to race the light and should have stopped and waited).

    If you go to court and argue the citation you might be able to get it reduced to something less that does not put a point on your license or effect your insurance. Otherwise, you can pay a little more for traffic school and it will also keep it off your record.

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    ticket for accident i didnt cause

    thanks for your input on the matter. My court hearing is coming up soon. i put alot of effort into my defense and i did not try to beat the light no matter what they say. ya the light was green but it wasnt a circle i had a green arrow and the light next to me was red so the opposing traffic had to have a red light also, and the guy had to have been speeding because i would have had plenty of time to turn if the light was a circle but since it wasnt i had the right of way he just didnt stop.

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    I would say you are probably going to loose the case. It doesn't really matter what the light was showing (this must be a Penn. thing with the green circle???) Anyway - if you made the turn and got plowed into, then you had to have turned into the path of a car that was already coming into the intersection, or was otherwise too close to the intersection to be able to stop or avoid you.

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    I believe the description of the green circle is just an ordinary green light as opposed to a protected left on a green arrow.

    The OP claims to have started the turn on a protected green arrow, but midway through the intersection the green arrow changed to a yellow arrow, and then became an ordinary green light (unprotected left).

    The trouble here is the timing of the lights. They simply don't change that quickly. As it is described, it seems the OP may have tried to race the light and that is why the citation was issued for failure to yield.

    It is possible that the oncoming driver was also anticipating the light change, so by the time that driver reached the intersection he had a rolling start and came through faster than the OP anticipated since traffic in that direction had been stopped.

    Bottom line is- as the OP correctly stated- a left turn into oncoming traffic, regardless of what the light showed, makes it his fault. The driver is responsible for the safe operation of the vehicle, not the traffic lights.

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