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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    6

    Question Can a Medical Emergency Constitute an Exception to Highway "Top Speed"

    My question involves a speeding ticket from the State of California. I have read somewhere on the Internet that the posted highway speed limit is immutable except in the case of a medical emergency that requires speed in order to relieve the cause of the emergency? Where is such an exigency to the law explained and the appropriate code written that makes speeding during a medical emergency applicable to "guilty with an explanation" as a viable means to avoid a ticket? Where in the Traffic Code for California is such a "Guilty with an Explanation" defense explained. I spent 3 hours in my local Law Library searching for such a statute or its use in a court case. I had the Library staff searching for such a "legal definition, law, application in a trial" with no luck.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    38,867

    Default Re: Can a Medical Emergency Constitute an Exception to Highway "Top Speed"

    I do not believe there are any statutes that give a civilian the right to speed, even in an emergency. Depending on your situation, it might be accepted as an explanation and as such, considered in determining your penalty. Often times, not only is it not allowed but you might get chastised for trying to use it. Speeding itself causes a much greater possibility you will be involved in an accident so basically, claiming you needed to speed is seen as counter productive as it can easily cause you to end up taking more time to reach medical treatment.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Can a Medical Emergency Constitute an Exception to Highway "Top Speed"

    Can we assume the officer who wrote your ticket didn't find the nature of your emergency convincing enough to escort you to the hospital or call an ambulance, but rather to delay you further by writing you up? Knowing the circumstances might help, if you can share them.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Northern California
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    832

    Default Re: Can a Medical Emergency Constitute an Exception to Highway "Top Speed"

    From thread http://www.expertlaw.com/forums/show...t=68069&page=2

    This is an exemtption for doctors only. If you truely have a medical emergency, call 911. Most all firefighters can provide basic life support and EMT's/Paramedics can provide advanced life support on scece and on the way to the hospital.

    Most people who claim a "Medical emergency" are only medical conditions which someone has. I had one guy who told 911 his daughter was not breathing and he was not stopping until he got to the hospital, speeding at over 100 and running red lights along the way. I catch up to him .5 miles from the hospital and he is speeding. I light hit up and he goes the last .5 miles where I get out of the car, contact the daughter who is reclined and texting on her cell phone. I asked if this was the daughter who wasn't breathing and he replied, "Yes, she was having a panick attack."
    Dad got a ticket.

    Sometimes your "Emergency" does not really equate to a real emergency. You can explain your situiation to the judge and see if there is any compassion.


    21058 VC - A physician traveling in response to an emergency call shall be exempt from the provisions of Sections 22351 and 22352 if the vehicle so used by him displays an insigne approved by the department indicating that the vehicle is owned by a licensed physician. The provisions of this section do not relieve the driver of the vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons using the highway, nor protect the driver from the consequences of an arbitrary exercise of the privileges of this section.


    Amended Ch. 1996, Stats. 1959. Effective September 18, 1959.


    This does not provide exemption to 22348(b), 22349(a)/(b) or 22356(b) VC or any other moving violation.

    One last thing, it only applies to the doctor, not their spouses, kids, friends, local full service carwash attendent etc.

    Hope the section helps.






    Another last thing, 31 VC - No person shall give, either orally or in writing, information to a peace officer while in the performance of his duties under the
    provisions of this code when such person knows that the information
    is false.

    If the doctor is creating an alternate truth (lie) to the officer, and the officer is good at putting the Bull and the steaming turd together, lets just say, the doctor better play poker nights with a lawyer.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    3,835

    Default Re: Can a Medical Emergency Constitute an Exception to Highway "Top Speed"

    Quote Quoting porsche4
    View Post
    My question involves a speeding ticket from the State of California. I have read somewhere on the Internet that the posted highway speed limit is immutable except in the case of a medical emergency that requires speed in order to relieve the cause of the emergency?
    The defense you wish to proffer is known in the law as "Justification" OR "Necessity".

    It will be given weight according to it's merits.

    Example; You are sitting at a red light and a person draws a gun on you. Are you to sit there and not run the red light and get shot or break the law and run?


    Okay, this may not be fair example, but you get the point.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    CT & IL
    Posts
    5,273

    Default Re: Can a Medical Emergency Constitute an Exception to Highway "Top Speed"

    The only other exceptions would be a serviceman who is being recalled to his base for duty and a postal carrier.... that I think are reasons for speeding .

    I did get caught in KY going 100 MPH ... KY maximum speed is whatever is safe (it was night, nobody on the road, on I40 in the foothills). Judge said "OK", a hillbilly judge who looked like he transported moonshine at some time in his life.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Can a Medical Emergency Constitute an Exception to Highway "Top Speed"

    I agree. 911 is not always an option. Consider these cases:

    1. You receive word that someone for whom you are the medical decision maker is on their way to the hospital, or already there. For example a child, an elderly parent, or an incapacitated spouse. You need to get to the hospital straight away. Can you call 911 for a lift?

    2. An emergency develops with a passenger while you're already on the road. For example, your child with a serious peanut allergy has an attack while you're on the freeway. Can you speed to get to the nearest exit? A hospital?

    3. You're the one with the medical emergency, and you're already on the road. It's a lonely stretch with no other cars and you have no cell phone. If you pull over it may be a long time before anyone stops for you. What now?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Can a Medical Emergency Constitute an Exception to Highway "Top Speed"

    1. You receive word that someone for whom you are the medical decision maker is on their way to the hospital, or already there. For example a child, an elderly parent, or an incapacitated spouse. You need to get to the hospital straight away. Can you call 911 for a lift?
    what information can you not obtain over the phone that you could at the hospital?

    2. An emergency develops with a passenger while you're already on the road. For example, your child with a serious peanut allergy has an attack while you're on the freeway. Can you speed to get to the nearest exit? A hospital?
    again, speeding causes risk. Unless you are very close to the hospital, you would be better off contacing 911 and either planning on a meeting somewhere or actually the better action would be to pull off the road so you can administer rescue breathing if necessary. Kind of hard to do that while you are driving and you have irreversible brain damage after just a couple minutes so unless you are less than a couple minutes from the hospital, continuing to drive would probably be the worst thing you can do.

    3. You're the one with the medical emergency, and you're already on the road. It's a lonely stretch with no other cars and you have no cell phone. If you pull over it may be a long time before anyone stops for you. What now
    ?what kind of medical emergency? If anything that incapacitates you in any way, speeding could easily you to lose control of the vehicle and then where are you? If it does not incapacitate you, what would the benefit of speeding be?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Can a Medical Emergency Constitute an Exception to Highway "Top Speed"

    Thanks to all of you for your interest and rapid responses. I want to particulary thank that BOR and the reference to "justification" and "necessity". Is there a statute that refers to either or both of these "situations" or are these taught as argument in law school and have only precedent and no reference in code or Law?

    I am loath to explain the actual situation that I faced and feel that it is better to set forth an analogous situation if possible. For example, let us say that you are pregnant and in your third trimester. In the middle of driving on the Freeway to visit your OBGYN your water breaks and you are sitting in a puddle of amniotic fluid. You can proceed to the doctor or you can proceed to a hospital. You panic and decide to drive to the nearest hospital which is further away than your doctors office.

    You gradually increase your speed while driving in medium traffic on a 5 lane wide highway where all traffic is exceeding the posted limit of 65 (say they average 73 mph). You are very familiar with the highway, driving it multiple times per week to get to work at 4:30 am when the traffic usually flows at 75 to 85 MPH.

    You increase your speed to 75 and you are slowly passing through most of the traffic on the surrounding 4 lanes. Then you come up to a block of cars that have reduced their speed to 65 mph and have blocked any passage through them.

    You are now flowing with the traffic at 60 to 65 MPH. But you can feel the amniotic fluid leaking between your legs and you continue to sit in a puddle of your own fluid. So you slow down and start to search for a way through the apparent 5 car wide and 1.5 to 2 car deep block. When you find a way through the block you speed up to make it through the gap and immediately upon clearing the gap and the highway clears in front you, you are set upon by a motorcycle cop who pulls you over and asks for license and registration.

    Your reaction, being a tough mother, is to get the ticket over as soon as possible and continue on to the Hospital which is nearby. The officer asks no questions, gives you the ticket for doing 80 mph without comment and leaves to find another mark.

    Can you justify having exceeded the speed limit as a medical emergency? The judge could question why you did not tell the officer that your water had broken and begged off getting the ticket. Some people simply have so much dislike and fear over speaking to a traffic cop that they are tonge tied when having to deal with arguing with a Cop.

    Some of the respondents appear to be police supporters. I have not in fact explained the situation that led to my getting the ticket. I have tried to give as good an analogy as possible off the top of my head. Some alternative scenarios might be that the driver was rushing because of a mistaken dose and the fear that he might have nausea or that he might suffer dizzyiness or he might pass out himself, so he tried to get to an exit as fast as he could without causing an accident. There are any number of situations where a disabled or chronically ill person might have a medical emergency while driving that, while it might not be life threatening would at the same time result in a great deal of discomfort or difficulty for the affected driver. Another situation would be a situation where an aged person might have a loss of bladder control in the course of motoring and increase speed to make it to a bathroom facility. There are many more instances of medical emergencies that could be imagined as well.

    Is there any legal discussion of "Justification or Necessity" in such a situation?

    Thanks for your help with this situation.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Somewhere near Canada
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    35,894

    Default Re: Can a Medical Emergency Constitute an Exception to Highway "Top Speed"

    ...and the reason you wouldn't explain the imminent birth to the motorcycle cop is...what, exactly?


    Us tough mothers wouldn't hesitate to explain - even in the midst of contractions.

    So...what's the real story?

    Because frankly unless it's life threatening or imminent birth, the responsible thing would be to pull over.

    Peeing your pants is not, incidentally, an emergency.
    An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise - Victor Hugo

    Do not microwave grapes

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