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Accident with Emergency Vehichle

Discussion in 'Speeding Tickets, Traffic & Moving Violations' started by nonov, Dec 20, 2018.

  1. nonov

    nonov Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I was recently in an accident that totaled my car. I was driving down a one way road, I was the only car travelling this direction. I was travelling approximately the speed limit (25). I had a green light so I briefly looked around at my surroundings. The crosswalk signal had just ended so there was a family standing on the corner stuck until the next cycle. To the right I saw a line of cars stopped for the red, and to the left I saw a car stopped, but couldn't see further back because there is a building on the corner. Unfortunately I failed to hear or see the fire truck (with lights+sirens on) also approaching, until we both entered at the same time. I immediately braked, but still t-boned them. The guy on the corner came to help me. He said that he didn't really see the fire truck slow for the intersection and felt like they were not driving safely. I received an inattentive driving ticket and the cop did not talk to this witness. I don't think my insurance company did either. I had music playing but not excessively loud, I just failed to register/hear the sirens. The building made it hard to see much coming from that direction. I feel like the only way to avoid this accident was to not be playing any radio and be driving well under the speed limit. This ticket did not have a court date, but apparently I can show up and ask to contest it on the spot with a judge. Is there anything I could do to get rid of this ticket? I'm from VA, and I've never heard of an inattentive ticket before. My insurance already sky rocketed because I'm at fault since it was an emergency vehicle, the ticket will only make it worse.
     
  2. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Probably not. Everything you describe amounts to "inattentive driving."

    See if you can take traffic school. Won't help really since you'll pay as much or more for traffic school and the accident will still be on your insurance record.

    You may think your radio wasn't loud but it was obviously loud enough so that you couldn't hear the siren. Leave your radio off when you drive.

    I have to tell you I am deaf in one ear and have about a 15% impairment in the other. I drive with the radio off and have no trouble hearing sirens from 1/4 mile away.

    I suggest you get your hearing tested. You might have an impairment there.
     
  3. flyingron

    flyingron Active Member

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    You're lucky you only got charged with the relatively minor inattentive driving. In your home state, you would have been charged with a MISDEMEANOR for failing to yield to an emergency vehicle.

    What makes you think the cop needs question any witness. You struck an emergency vehicle with lights and sirens. That's a pretty prima facie case. Ideally, an emergency vehicle running a red would be advised to slow to make sure people like you aren't going to clobber them, but stuff happens. And as your mommy told you when you were little, "Two wrongs do not make a right."
     
  4. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    The driver of an emergency vehicle still has an obligation to exercise "due regard" to other traffic even when responding to an emergency, even though the driver may be allowed certain exemptions.
    In the scenario you describe the fire truck came through a red light at a blind intersection without stopping. The vehicle was exempt from making a complete stop, but the driver may not have exercised due regard to cross traffic by continuing before ensuring it was clear to do so.
    There is something worth investigating here that may absolve you of your problem, but you will likely need legal assistance to see it through. I suggest you visit a reputable traffic attorney in your area. Hopefully you have contact information for your witness.

    I disagree. What you describe does not amount to inattentive driving. An attentive driver can still fail to see or hear emergency lights and sirens (would a deaf driver be cited for being inattentive?). More information would be needed to justify this citation-- the fact that a collison occurred is not sufficient. Collisions occur all the time without people being cited for being inattentive.

    § 4134 Operation of vehicles on approach of authorized emergency vehicles.

    (a) Upon the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle making use of audible or visual signals, or of a police vehicle properly and lawfully making use of an audible signal only, the driver of every other vehicle shall yield the right-of-way and shall immediately drive to a position parallel to, and as close as possible to, the right-hand edge or curb of the roadway clear of any intersections and shall relinquish the right-of-way until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed, except when otherwise directed by a police officer.

    (b) Upon approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle, when the authorized emergency vehicle is giving a signal by displaying alternately flashing red, blue, blue and white, red and white, red and blue, or red, white and blue lights, or upon approaching a stationary authorized vehicle of the Department of Transportation, which is giving a signal by displaying alternately flashing amber or red and amber lights, or upon approaching a stationary tow truck, which is giving a signal by displaying alternately flashing amber, white, or amber and white lights, or upon approaching a stationary vehicle owned or operated by a public utility, which is giving a signal by displaying alternately flashing amber, white, or amber and white lights, a person who drives an approaching vehicle shall:

    (1) Proceed with caution and yield the right-of-way by making a lane change into a lane not adjacent to that of such vehicle, if possible with due regard to safety and traffic conditions, if on a roadway having at least 4 lanes with not less than 2 lanes proceeding in the same direction as the approaching vehicle; or,

    (2) Proceed with caution and reduce the speed of the vehicle to a safe speed while passing such stationary vehicle, if changing lanes would be impossible or unsafe.

    (c) This section shall not operate to relieve the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons using the highway.

    (d) Any person violating subsection (b) of this section who hits, strikes, or in any way contacts an emergency responder, causing physical injury, with that person's vehicle shall be guilty of a class F felony.


    21 DE Code § 4176
    (a) Whoever operates a vehicle in a careless or imprudent manner, or without due regard for road, weather and traffic conditions then existing, shall be guilty of careless driving.

    (b) Whoever operates a vehicle and who fails to give full time and attention to the operation of the vehicle, or whoever fails to maintain a proper lookout while operating the vehicle, shall be guilty of inattentive driving.
     
  5. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    If there are any traffic cameras, or any other cameras on the nearby buildings that captured this you would be wise to seek copies of that video. It's possible the fire truck may even have cameras on it.
     
  6. nonov

    nonov Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you everyone for your responses. I definitely don't listen to music while I drive anymore! I normally just listen to podcasts, but for those long drives I always played music. Mightymoose, I appreciate the factual information you've provided me.
     

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