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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    4

    Default Yield Sign Removed, Driver Used to Sign Cited for Running a Red Light

    My question involves a traffic ticket received 1-13-11 from the state of Florida:

    There is an intersection I used to frequently travel through for years, but haven't in at least a year. Whenever the light would turn red I'd always make a right to travel to my destination as there is a dedicated turn lane that had a yield sign, and thus would expedite my travel time. However, I learned, the hard way, that something had changed since my previous travels. The Yield sign was removed, which I didn't notice, but a friendly police officer was kind enough to cite me for it @ $264 and w/ 3 points added to my license for running a red light which will surely raise my insurance costs.
    The crazy thing is the yield sign was there for at least a decade, and is still visible from the street view in Google maps when you enter that intersection. I was hoping that perhaps, because there was, within the last year, road construction done in that area that perhaps the sign may have been accidentally taken down, or forgotten to be put back up after construction trucks had passed through. I was able to contact the local DOT engineer to find out what had happened, and talked to the man who had it taken for the reason that there was no triangular raised concrete island which would allow for the use of a yield sign or 'traffic control device', and that he couldn't recall exactly when without looking through his file but thought that about a year ago sounded right. Do you think that if I show the judge that indeed there used to be a yield sign, as it is still visible from Google map that'll I could get a reduction or dismissal? I also asked the engineer if there needed to be a light for that turn lane, as there wasn't and his reply was that there didn't need to be, but that national standards are being made so that all new intersections will provide 1 light for each 1 lane that is used. This particular intersection has 3 lanes of straight travel that opens up to 5 at the intersection to allow for dedicated left and right turning lanes. In total all 5 lanes have 3 lights: 1 for the left turn lane and 2 lights in between the 3 straight lanes and I guess now 1 of those 2 is for the right turn lane almost 2 lanes away from the light. Any help? Do I have a case, not against the officer, but the street device change/removal of the yield sign? The coincidental thing is, when I called the DOT engineer he said that it was funny I called to ask him about that sign as a guy had just called earlier from the sanitation department trying to get an answer to a bet he had going with another dump truck driver as to whether there used to be a yield sign there or not. I explained that bet was probably due to the driver receiving the same citation a had just acquired, as I later learned from a friend whom I was going to see that he had seen the officer had sitting at the intersection earlier in the morning 5 hours before I was cited; Looks like he was probably fishing there all day. Anyhow, should I pay the fine, contest, ask for community service hours in lieu of the fine, etc? Iíve been out of steady work for over a year [and have not collected any unemployment]; that money could surely be put to better use elsewhere, like keeping me off the streets.
    THANK YOU FOR ANY ADVICE OR HELP!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,841

    Default Re: Yield Sign Gone After a Decade of Use, Thus Cited 4 Running a Red Light (Right Tu

    It's not very sporting, but hardly illegal. I'd try your pitch (even the google street view) in court, but technically you are guilty.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    4

    Default Re: Yield Sign Gone After a Decade of Use, Thus Cited 4 Running a Red Light (Right Tu

    Thanks FlyingRon, any other takers with help/advice?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: Yield Sign Gone After a Decade of Use, Thus Cited 4 Running a Red Light (Right Tu

    I can't help, but I had a similar experience. Secondary road crossing over the entrance and exit lanes from interstate. The exit lane coming from the interstate that I was crossing had been a yield for 30 years and I traveled it daily. They changed it to a stop sign and I didn't notice. I went to court and the judge said tough luck......

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    LA LA Land
    Posts
    9,170

    Default Re: Yield Sign Gone After a Decade of Use, Thus Cited 4 Running a Red Light (Right Tu

    As long as the traffic signal meets the FHWA MUTCD with regards to placement/color/orientation... etc, "not seeing it" is not a plausible defense!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Yield Sign Gone After a Decade of Use, Thus Cited 4 Running a Red Light (Right Tu

    @ Wertach, I hope that doesn't happen to me, and @ That Guy, thanks for the link. Again @ That Guy, the reason the young DOT Engineer said he took down the Yield sign was because there was no raised concrete triangular shaped island which he said is what is necessary for the sign, but according to page 53 of the manual you've suggested, that's just not true. There are many areas for yield signs, and the concrete triangle doesn't always have to be in play from what I read, no?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    LA LA Land
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    Default Re: Yield Sign Gone After a Decade of Use, Thus Cited 4 Running a Red Light (Right Tu

    Quote Quoting Rickpcmp3
    View Post
    That Guy, the reason the young DOT Engineer said he took down the Yield sign was because there was no raised concrete triangular shaped island which he said is what is necessary for the sign, but according to page 53 of the manual you've suggested, that's just not true. There are many areas for yield signs, and the concrete triangle doesn't always have to be in play from what I read, no?
    Unless you're a traffic engineer, then neither you nor I are qualified to second guess the reason(s) why the yield sign was removed. More often than not, "engineering decisions" (and so long as they are not likely to lead to any unsafe conditions/traffic violations) do allow for some leeway in what "guidance" is followed to install or remove a sign.

    I posted that link as a way for you to check whether the "traffic light" (not the "yield sign") is properly posted/positioned and that it is not obstructed... But I'll still oblige you with my own analysis of what is stated in the manual. let me refer you to Section 2B.04 (which starts on page 49)... Now scroll down to the bottom of page 50 (and you'll see the following):
    Standard:
    Because the potential for conflicting commands could create driver confusion, YIELD or STOP signs shall not be used in conjunction with any traffic control signal operation, except in the following cases:
    A. If the signal indication for an approach is a flashing red at all times;
    B. If a minor street or driveway is located within or adjacent to the area controlled by the traffic control signal, but does not require separate traffic signal control because an extremely low potential for conflict exists; or
    C. If a channelized turn lane is separated from the adjacent travel lanes by an island and the channelized turn lane is not controlled by a traffic control signal.

    As you can see, it is clearly stated that a "YIELD .... signs shall not be used in conjunction with any traffic control signal operation" unless (one of the conditions is: "a channelized turn lane is separated from the adjacent travel lanes by an island and the channelized turn lane is not controlled by a traffic control signal".

    My interpretation of that is as follows: There is in fact a traffic signal (the red light you mentioned in your post)... That on its own means that a yield sign SHALL NOT be posted... Additionally, the fact (as you stated) that the turning lane is NOT separated from the adjacent traffic lanes by an island, would be another reason why a Yield sign should not be posted.

    Legally speaking, you were cited for failing to make a complete stop before proceeding through a red light. Accordingly, the element that must be proven by the prosecution is your "failure to stop". As has been stated a number of times here, the fact that there used to be a yield sign is not a valid defense to the alleged violation that you committed at the time and place that you committed it. So while you can only hope for a sympathetic judge who may give you a break, you should keep in mind that he/she is neither required nor obligated to do so. (See the "tough luck" story that wertach posted).

    Good luck!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Yield Sign Gone After a Decade of Use, Thus Cited 4 Running a Red Light (Right Tu

    It's kind of like the old saying, "the letter [of the law] kills, but the Spirit gives life." There really needs to be another light (as is suggested by the manual Table 4D-1, p.461 for 3 through lanes traveling over 45mph), at the intersection in the lane closest to the turn lane, and the light configuration on the power wires would be practical as the double asterisk suggest from the table. I'm still of the notion that the slick engineer sort of dropped the ball on this move, making an efficient intersection less efficient for the user. Had he put in the light when taking down the sign, or better yet added the concrete triangular island as there is certainly plenty of room for one, I'd commend him; but this is regress.

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