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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Default Cited for Careless Driving After Being Released From the Accident Scene

    My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: New Jersey
    After being diverted from an un-plowed (recent snow) state road by posted signs I drove on to municipal road in Millstone township. Travelling 20 Mph on what appeared to be recently plowed pavement, I approached a stop and applied brakes. The road had black ice apparently and I slid past the stop sign into the intersection, and my car contacted another vehicle traveling through the intersection in cross traffic. No injuries, and minor damage to the other vehicle fender and door panel (vehicle was drive-able). Called State Trooper (no local PD in Millstone TWP), and he took report for insurance and after doing so said I could leave the accident scene. No citation issued. No witnesses other than the other driver of other vehicle.


    After a week I get solicitations from a number of lawyers asking to represent me in my "careless driving case". WTF. I guess the trooper has issued a citation but I've not been served. Makes no sense to me however as I did not act carelessly. The trooper did not witness the accident, nor are there any witnesses. Only the fact of there being an accident is not proof of there being careless driving. The road was posted for 45 and because of the weather I was going slow deliberately to be safe and was on the road the State moved me on to travel.

    What is best coarse of action?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    OH10
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    Default Re: Cited for Careless Driving After Trooper Dismissed Me from Accident Scene

    Contact the court or look online to see if you were cited and appear. Based on your statement, I see little problem with the officer meeting the burden of proof. Getting a lawyer may help significantly.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    1,055

    Default Re: Cited for Careless Driving After Trooper Dismissed Me from Accident Scene

    Are you saying that the black ice should have been removed by plowing? I don't know whether that is correct. The fact that you slowed is good but you apparently didn't slow enough. I agree with Dis that a lawyer might be a good idea.

  4. #4
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    Oct 2006
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    15,901

    Default Re: Cited for Careless Driving After Trooper Dismissed Me from Accident Scene

    Quote Quoting Disagreeable
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    Contact the court or look online to see if you were cited and appear. Based on your statement, I see little problem with the officer meeting the burden of proof. Getting a lawyer may help significantly.
    I disagree with you. Fault for the accident...yes, that is obvious but a careless driving citation after being dismissed from the scene, with damages that minor? The damages would not have been that minor if the OP was driving carelessly.

    The part I do agree with is that if the officer actually cited him after the fact for careless driving, that an attorney is in order.

  5. #5
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    Mar 2011
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    24

    Default Re: Cited for Careless Driving After Trooper Dismissed Me from Accident Scene

    I'm saying that if the State (troopers) block a road for being unplowed (unsafe) and detour you onto another road, the assumption is that the road they detour you on to should be safe to pass. As the plowing on the detour was not adequate to make that safe my sliding through the intersection after applying brakes at 20Mph should not be considered "Careless". I was careful, and through an act of god (weather, ice, temperature) my vehicle did not stop as would be expected on a relatively safe road.

    The citation seems to be more of a way to increase the coffers of the State and Township as well as the wallet size of the local lawyers, than it serves to change behavior....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Pennsylvania
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    806

    Default Re: Cited for Careless Driving After Trooper Dismissed Me from Accident Scene

    Quote Quoting Phyberoptic
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    The citation seems to be more of a way to increase the coffers of the State and Township as well as the wallet size of the local lawyers, than it serves to change behavior....
    As are most "moving violations". Laws don't change behaviors, bottom line. I tend to agree with you - that you exercised caution and still were unable to adequately control your vehicle. The problem I see is that your claim of traveling 20mph is baseless as you can't prove it. So let's forget about that. Now we are back to the fact that you were cited AFTER being told to leave. That is abnormal from my personal experiences with accidents. I also agree with those who are suggesting that you get a lawyer involved. A careless driving conviction is not something you want on your driving record.

  7. #7
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    Oct 2006
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    Default Re: Cited for Careless Driving After Trooper Dismissed Me from Accident Scene

    Quote Quoting PADriver13
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    As are most "moving violations". Laws don't change behaviors, bottom line. I tend to agree with you - that you exercised caution and still were unable to adequately control your vehicle. The problem I see is that your claim of traveling 20mph is baseless as you can't prove it. So let's forget about that. Now we are back to the fact that you were cited AFTER being told to leave. That is abnormal from my personal experiences with accidents. I also agree with those who are suggesting that you get a lawyer involved. A careless driving conviction is not something you want on your driving record.
    I think that the low level of damage its very indicative of a low level of speed.

  8. #8
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    Nov 2013
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    Default Re: Cited for Careless Driving After Trooper Dismissed Me from Accident Scene

    Quote Quoting llworking
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    I think that the low level of damage its very indicative of a low level of speed.
    I agree with you. But he can't PROVE it. He can say he was doing whatever speed he wants, and the fact remains he still caused an accident. The amount of damage in no way correlates to the speed the vehicle was traveling. Just this past week, my mother-in-law ran into pole in a parking lot. She was in a full parking lot, so there is no way she was "speeding". Yet the accident caused more than $15,000 to her 2006 BMW and it was ultimately totaled due to frame damage. Had I not been there, and witnessed it, no way anyone would convince me hitting a stationary pole at approx. 10mph would cause $15,000 of damage and result in a totaled car.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    24

    Default Re: Cited for Careless Driving After Trooper Dismissed Me from Accident Scene

    Quote Quoting PADriver13
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    I agree with you. But he can't PROVE it. He can say he was doing whatever speed he wants, and the fact remains he still caused an accident. .
    39:4-97. Careless driving
    A person who drives a vehicle carelessly, or without due caution and circumspection, in a manner so as to endanger, or be likely to endanger, a person or property, shall be guilty of careless driving.

    So the element that must be "proven by the prosecution" is that the manner with which you drove your vehicle endangered person or property.

    Just because an accident occurred, does not mean that you drove carelessly. In fact, New Jersey case law says just the opposite. In order for the state to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, they must prove that the defendant lacked due caution and circumspection, and it resulted in danger or likelihood of danger to person or property. Both elements must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt

    There needs to be some evidence of the defendant’s manner of driving. Simple being in an accident does not demonstrate anything.

    In this case the road appeared to be safe enough for travel at a reduced speed (less than half the posted speed) and the thin layer of snow over the ice on the road made friction near zero. How is normal braking at highly reduced speed while approaching what looked to be a safe road with poor weather to be considered lacking due caution and circumspection?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    OH10
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    Default Re: Cited for Careless Driving After Trooper Dismissed Me from Accident Scene

    Nope, it means they do not want traffic proceeding on the route they closed. The only one vouching for your speed or actions is you. That is what you tell the judge.



    Quote Quoting Phyberoptic
    View Post
    I'm saying that if the State (troopers) block a road for being unplowed (unsafe) and detour you onto another road, the assumption is that the road they detour you on to should be safe to pass. As the plowing on the detour was not adequate to make that safe my sliding through the intersection after applying brakes at 20Mph should not be considered "Careless". I was careful, and through an act of god (weather, ice, temperature) my vehicle did not stop as would be expected on a relatively safe road.

    The citation seems to be more of a way to increase the coffers of the State and Township as well as the wallet size of the local lawyers, than it serves to change behavior....

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