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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    Default Cited for "Driving at Safe Speed"

    My question involves a speeding ticket from the State of: Pennsylvania
    My son just received a citation for "driving at safe speed." He was traveling on a stretch on road with no posted speed limit. He was traveling at approximately 50-55 MPH. He approached a T intersection which had a T intersection waring sign and a yellow 35 MPH suggestion sign. He had no stop sign or traffic light. A vehicle at the T intersection had stopped at the stop sign then pulled out in front of my son's car. He swerved to avoid the other car. He did not hit the other car but sustained damage to his car by hitting the guardrail. The other driver told the trooper that he stopped at the sign but did not see my son's car and pulled out. Now my son is cited. It seems to me that had the other driver not pulled out in front of him there would not have been any incident so it is the other driver who impeded my son's right of way and should be the at fault party. We plan to fight his citation. Any help would be appreciated.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Cited for "Driving at Safe Speed"

    Did your son tell the officer or the other party what he believed his speed was? (we're all told to shut up and not say anything at the scene) Did the officer measure skid marks or anything to determine the speed?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    LA LA Land
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    9,175

    Default Re: Cited for "Driving at Safe Speed"

    Quote Quoting nako
    View Post
    It seems to me that had the other driver not pulled out in front of him there would not have been any incident so it is the other driver who impeded my son's right of way and should be the at fault party.
    It would also be reasonable to conclude that had he been driving at a "safe speed", he would have been able to avoid the crash all together...

    That being said, I think the "driving at a safe speed" description should instead be ""driving at an UNsafe speed"... So the question is, what statute/code section was he cited for?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    10,090

    Default Re: Cited for "Driving at Safe Speed"

    No, that's what the title of the statute says.


    § 3361. Driving vehicle at safe speed.
    No person shall drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is
    reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to
    the actual and potential hazards then existing, nor at a speed
    greater than will permit the driver to bring his vehicle to a
    stop within the assured clear distance ahead. Consistent with
    the foregoing, every person shall drive at a safe and
    appropriate speed when approaching and crossing an intersection
    or railroad grade crossing, when approaching and going around a
    curve, when approaching a hill crest, when traveling upon any
    narrow or winding roadway and when special hazards exist with
    respect to pedestrians or other traffic or by reason of weather
    or highway conditions.


    It's hard to argue this under the best of times, worst when you lose control of your vehicle in the process.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    1,300

    Default Re: Cited for "Driving at Safe Speed"

    I would have to disagree with all of the above. Obviously the officer thinks he was traveling under the speed limit, he just doesn't believe that it was reasonable and prudent for the conditions of the roadway.

    Apparently, he swerved to miss the other car that had cut him off. The question at hand now becomes, "who had the right-of-way?"

    I strongly believe that if you can bring in a witness (the driver of the other vehicle) to testify that he did not notice the defendant, then you can prove that this collision was unavoidable even if the defendant was traveling at a reasonable and prudent speed.

    You may want to explain to the witness that she will not be cited for claiming fault. You may even have to draft a contract stating that you will not sue him/her for damages sustained if she/he claims fault. If you were planning on suing, then you're going to need to revisit this defense strategy.

    All in all, we would need more information to better understand the situation. But this is my response to your post with the information that you had supplied.
    "A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer." ~Robert Frost

  6. #6
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    Mar 2009
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    LA LA Land
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    9,175

    Default Re: Cited for "Driving at Safe Speed"

    Quote Quoting BrendanjKeegan
    View Post
    I would have to disagree with all of the above. Obviously the officer thinks he was traveling under the speed limit, he just doesn't believe that it was reasonable and prudent for the conditions of the roadway.

    Apparently, he swerved to miss the other car that had cut him off. The question at hand now becomes, "who had the right-of-way?"

    I strongly believe that if you can bring in a witness (the driver of the other vehicle) to testify that he did not notice the defendant, then you can prove that this collision was unavoidable even if the defendant was traveling at a reasonable and prudent speed.

    You may want to explain to the witness that she will not be cited for claiming fault. You may even have to draft a contract stating that you will not sue him/her for damages sustained if she/he claims fault. If you were planning on suing, then you're going to need to revisit this defense strategy.

    All in all, we would need more information to better understand the situation. But this is my response to your post with the information that you had supplied.
    Brendan... Your argument falls apart on two levels pursuant to the clear language of the statute...

    For one, "safe [speed]" would suggest "accident free"... And two, (from the statute that Ron cited) "No person shall drive a vehicle .... at a speed greater than will permit the driver to bring his vehicle to a stop within the assured clear distance ahead" and the collision is prima facie evidence that the driver's speed was greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions (otherwise, he would not have collided with the guardrail).

    Furthermore, we all know that another driver's alleged violation is not an affirmative defense to that of the first driver... Not sure how much weight the other driver's testimony will carry!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    533

    Default Re: Cited for "Driving at Safe Speed"

    I'm with brendan.

    You cannot be responsible for driving at a speed at all times to avoid any accident due to other people breaking the law and pulling out in front of you! Amazing.

    Lets say you are proceeding through a green light, the cars stopped at the red light decides to pull in front of you and you hit him. That Guy and Flyingron would posit that you are guilty of driving too fast? Or you swerve and avoid the lawbreaker, but clip a guardrail- yep, too fast to avoid that lawbreaker. His speed was not what caused the collision- IT WAS THE PERSON PULLING OUT!!! Had the driver T-boned the car pulling out, would he have been at fault for driving too fast? If "no" then he cannot be guilty by virtue of avoiding the accident.

    Silly arguments, and ThatGuy will surely micro-dissect this comment to win his interpretation.

    OP- Fight it, don't listen to the other nonsense.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Cited for "Driving at Safe Speed"

    Can somebody give me the definition of "assured clear distance ahead?" Does it mean clear road? My son tells me that had he not swerved he would the passenger front of the other car and the driver's front of my son's car would have collided. This would seem to me to indicate that there was not clear distance ahead to perform a stop. Also when my son went off the road both passenger side tires blew making it more difficult to control his vehicle. Since my son had no stop sign or traffic light and the other driver did doesn't that mean that my son had the right of way? My son had his head lights on. On the weather section of the citation it states no adverse weather conditions. At what point does the other driver impeding his right of way supersede my son's obligation to be able to stop.
    Can anyone tell me that if they agree to reduce the charge to something that does not have points with it will that effect his insurance?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Cited for "Driving at Safe Speed"

    My son tells me that had he not swerved he would the passenger front of the other car and the driver's front of my son's car would have collided.
    It is a perverse thing...sometimes avoiding a collision is the worst thing you can do, from a legal aftermath point-of-view. Without an actual collision, there's no evidence to support the other driver impeded your son. You'd have to rely on the other driver admitting guilt or witnesses.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    75,405

    Default Re: Cited for "Driving at Safe Speed"

    Quote Quoting nako
    View Post
    He was traveling on a stretch on road with no posted speed limit. He was traveling at approximately 50-55 MPH. He approached a T intersection which had a T intersection waring sign and a yellow 35 MPH suggestion sign. He had no stop sign or traffic light.
    So there was an advisory speed limit, presumably because he was coming around a curve and there was concern about drivers' ability to see the intersection ahead. Did he disregard the advisory speed limit and carry on at 50-55 MPH?
    Quote Quoting adam_
    View Post
    You cannot be responsible for driving at a speed at all times to avoid any accident due to other people breaking the law and pulling out in front of you!
    That's not what the statute says. It says you're expected to be able to stop before striking the vehicle that you can observe in front of you, or any other stationary object you see in front of you, and in most cases pedestrians and other items that have entered the roadway. Part of driving is being on guard for unexpected hazards, but you can always raise the defense of sudden emergency when it's applicable.
    Quote Quoting nako
    View Post
    Can somebody give me the definition of "assured clear distance ahead?"
    Basically, it means that the driver must operate his automobile at such a rate of speed and in such a manner that he can always stop it within the distance that he can clearly see. Metro v. Long Transportation Company, 387 Pa. 354, 127 A. 2d 716 (1956).

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