Wrong. The driver said he had too much speed and weight to stop in the
available distance. That doesn't mean he was speeding.
What it means is that for the amount of room he did have the truck
couldn't have been stopped.
So if you are driving along at 55 mph, come around a curve and discover
that the road is blocked in 50 feet for whatever reason. You were
driving "too fast for conditions" ?
ALL drivers are required to be in control, regardless of vehicle. Still
have thousands of accidents every day. That will change when the "fully
autonomous vehicles" are on the road... (SURE it will, just like the
computer made paperwork obsolete)
Ah, yes, pretty much the case.
The following, taken from the web promo of an attorney, details the law
in Illinois. Many may not agree with it, but it's the law and the way
it works in Illinois and most other states. This is a very basic
concept in traffic law.
I apologize for the length but given the way this thread has run on
forever, it's not that bad.<g>
Failure to Reduce Speed to Avoid an Accident (625 ILCS 5/11-601(a)
Driving Too Fast for Conditions (625 ILCS 5/11-601(a)
If you are ticketed for Failure to Reduce Speed to Avoid an Accident or
Driving Too Fast for Conditions, you may need legal representation.
Both offenses are petty offenses punishable by a fine of up to $1000.
Convictions for these offenses could have serious consequences for both
your driver’s license and your insurance.
Failure to Reduce Speed to Avoid an Accident is the most common ticket
issued when a traffic accident has occurred. Usually, they are issued
by a police officer who arrives on the scene of the accident after it
has already occurred and then makes a determination of fault with in
minutes of arrival. Very seldom are traffic accidents actually
witnessed by a police officer. Sometimes, an officer will, in addition
to speaking with the people involved in the accident, talk to other
witnesses who were not involved in the accident, but saw it occur.
However, this is not always the case, and often the officer will not
obtain information that identifies who these third party witnesses are
so they may be called to testify in court.
To prove a charge of failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident the
State must prove: 1. That you were driving a vehicle on a public
highway; 2. That you collided with a person or a vehicle on that
highway, and; 3. That you did so in violation of your duty to use “due
care”. With the most typical failure to reduce speed to avoid an
accident ticket, the first two requirements are usually easy for the
State to establish. It is the third requirement that is the most
difficult. Was the accident unavoidable? Was the other party to the
accident the person who was not exercising due care? Were there road
conditions or unusual obstacles that caused the accident? Were there
equipment issues with your vehicle that caused the accident? The duty
of due care is a nebulous concept, and an experienced traffic attorney
can use this subjective standard to your advantage.
Driving Too Fast for Conditions is a less common violation than failure
to reduce speed to avoid an accident and is often issued in the case of
a one vehicle accident in which a car slides off the road due to snow,
ice, rain, fog, road surface or other environmental condition. It is
not limited to this situation, however. Just like a failure to reduce
speed to avoid an accident ticket, these are seldom witnessed by a
police officer. In fact, there are often no other witnesses to the
accident other than the driver who went off the road. The officer just
sees the accident, looks at the road conditions, and concludes that the
driver was going to fast, and that is why he/she went off the road.
To prove a charge of driving too fast for conditions the State must
prove: 1. That you were driving a vehicle on a public highway; 2. That
you did so at a speed that was greater than what was “reasonable and
proper” when accounting for highway conditions such as traffic, weather,
and road surface, or: 3. you endangered the safety of any person or
property. Much like the “due care” standard, “reasonable and proper” is
a broad definition that can vary widely depending on the subjective
opinion of the officer issuing the ticket. In many ways, it is even
more subjective, and, therefore, even more difficult for the State to
prove. A traffic attorney with years of experience can ensure that the
State meets their burden to prove every element of the ticket against
you beyond a reasonable doubt.
For both offenses, the fact that you did not exceed the posted speed
limit at the time of the accident is generally not a valid defense.
This is a very common misconception about accident tickets. Not
exceeding the speed limit can be a factor to be explored when cross
examining the state’s witnesses about whether or not you used “due care”
or were traveling at a speed that was “reasonable and proper”, but this
is a very complex argument to make, and is best accomplished by an
attorney with the experience to ask the right questions.
Both tickets are also eligible for Court Supervision, which is sometimes
referred to as earned dismissal. This means that as long as certain
requirements are followed (usually a payment of fines and no tickets for
3 to 6 months after the term of supervision begins) the ticket will not
be placed on your driving record as conviction by the Secretary of
State, and will not place any points against your license. A common
misconception about Court Supervision is that the record of the ticket
just “goes away”. It does not mean that the record of the ticket
disappears entirely, it can still be seen by law enforcement and the
court system, but it is not accessible to other parties. Even if you
don’t want to challenge the ticket in court by making the State prove
all the elements against you, an attorney can negotiate a disposition of
Court Supervision with the prosecutor, and, in some counties, do so
without you ever having to go to court. This can be very advantageous
to those with busy schedules.
Below is the precise statute published in the Illinois Compiled Statutes.
(625 ILCS 5/11-601) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-601)
Sec. 11-601. General speed restrictions.
(a) No vehicle may be driven upon any highway of this State at a speed
which is greater than is reasonable and proper with regard to traffic
conditions and the use of the highway, or endangers the safety of any
person or property. The fact that the speed of a vehicle does not exceed
the applicable maximum speed limit does not relieve the driver from the
duty to decrease speed when approaching and crossing an intersection,
approaching and going around a curve, when approaching a hill crest,
when traveling upon any narrow or winding roadway, or when special
hazard exists with respect to pedestrians or other traffic or by reason
of weather or highway conditions. Speed must be decreased as may be
necessary to avoid colliding with any person or vehicle on or entering
the highway in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all
persons to use due care.
(Source: P.A. 97-202, eff. 1-1-12; 98-511, eff. 1-1-14.)
On Tuesday, July 15, 2014 7:41:00 AM UTC-4, Unquestionably Confused wrote:
And the law aside, it's pretty dumb to be driving so fast that your
stopping distance is greater than your visibility. Do people still do it?
Sure. But I can't believe someone doesn't understand that it is indeed
driving too safe for the conditions. If you come around a limited visibility
turn so fast that you can't stop if there is a disabled vehicle there,
then yeah, it's your fault.
From what I hear on the local news, it is very common in one car
accidents to cite the driver with a too fast ticket. I imagine they
often prevail or they'd not be doing it.
I also wonder what the real story is. There are a lot of deer caused
accidents, but when a drunk goes off the road he may also use the
"avoiding a deer" story.
I believe the lawyer industry and the insurance industry influence
police policy. If a cop issues a ticket, either the insurance company
can raise his rates or a lawyer is going to charge to get it dismissed.
A man arranged to ride to and from a company Christmas party with a
friend who didn't drink. On the way home, the friend stopped at a
convenience store. He turned the motor off but left the key in the
ignition so the passenger could listen to the radio.
A cop stopped at the convenience store, gave the passenger a
breathalyzer, and arrested him for DUI. Clearly, he had not been
driving, and the owner was the driver. The law was written so that if a
person alone in a car had the keys and had been drinking, that was DUI,
even parked on private property.
The ticket meant the victim had to pay a lawyer $1,000 to get it
dismissed because his higher insurance premiums would have been much more.
No way to tell how long it would take without much better data. Weight
of the trailers, how many axles, condition of the pavement, condition of
the vehicle, speed, angle of momentum (straight travel, curved) angle of
the roadway and much more.
Even then you would come up with the best possible braking distance
assuming nothing interfered.
The figure most drivers are told is that a fully loaded twin screw
tractor trailer (80,000 pounds) with one two axle trailer, on level dry
pavement at 55 mph takes approximately 100 yards (one football field) to
stop under ideal conditions.
From the video and the articles it looks like he came around a slight
curve downhill and cars were slowing/stopping in front of him.
It looks like he had a single screw tractor and pulling two trailers.
Couldn't tell how many axles total.
It looks like he got on the brakes as soon as he could, then the
trailers started to jackknife and slide down the pavement. Once that
happens the driver has no control over the outcome. It strictly becomes
a physics question then.
The drivers quotes will likely come back to haunt him because there will
be people looking to sue or like you assign the blame solely to the driver.
What was basically said was he had too much speed for the weight he was
carrying to stop in the distance that was left when he saw the cars
However they are the same things you would say if you came around a
curve and found a deer standing in the road.
"It was too close and I couldn't slow down enough to avoid hitting it"
The police will investigate and probably agree with the drivers
statement. BUT it will then be up to them to determine if the driver
actually is at fault.
Stopping distance is a function of many variables, so there isn't going
to be a simple answer to your question. It depends primarily on how
fast the truck was going when the driver applied the brakes, how hard he
stepped on the brake pedal, how much the weight of the sand added to the
momentum the truck, and so on.
But, any driver is obligated to provide sufficient distance between his
car and the car ahead of him so that he can stop in time to avoid an
accident. If the car in front slams on his breaks to avoid hitting a
dog that runs out on the road, the driver behind has provide enough room
between him and the car in front to prevent to stop before hitting that
I believe an analagous argument could be made for the truck in your
case. The driver of the truck has to limit his speed so as to be able
to stop at stop signs, red lights or traffic hazards even if there's a
steep grade in the road.
If the truck can't stop on a steep grade so as to avoid hitting another
car, then you can at least call it careless driving. But, if the reason
for the trucks inability to stop is because he was going too fast to
begin with, then that's negligence. And, if the truck was going too
fast to begin with because the driver was drunk, then now we have a
criminal case. If anyone was hurt because of the drunken driver's
inability to stop the truck, then you should be talking to a lawyer
On Friday, July 11, 2014 5:17:00 PM UTC-4, nestork wrote:
You can have a criminal case without the driver being drunk. It's
largely at the discretion of the prosecutor. For example, just a few
weeks ago, comedian Tracy Morgan was seriously injured in a crash on
the turnpike here, with another occupant killed. Traffic had slowed
for construction and a truck driver apparently fell asleep and did
not stop, hitting their shuttle van from behind.
Another case was in the news related to all the GM cars that had
been recalled. Some woman in I think TX has been in jail for years,
convicted of killing her friend who was a passenger, by driving off
the road into a tree. She hadn't
been drinking, no drugs, etc. Now they found out that the car was one
of the GMs recalled for the steering wheel defect.
A lot of this just depends on the prosecutor and your luck.
On Fri, 11 Jul 2014 12:33:01 -0700, Ann Marie Brest wrote:
You ask, is it criminal?
Of course it is. The driver will most likely be charged with manslaughter
of some degree.
He can forget about driving trucks now.
You ask, how long does it take to stop a truck?
Too many factors to say for that situation.
From a personal experience, hauling a single trailer, I was going down a
similar hill on an interstate. At the bottom, the road turns left.
I noticed the traffic had stooped and hit the brakes.
I stopped within inches of the rear car.
That was well over 500 feet easily.
The driver said he knew what to do and turned his rig right and aimed for
the guard rail.
Actually, that's a bad move, for long arm doubles.
As that sets up one hell of a whip lash reaction.
For those who may not know, the driver's inexperience shows.
Knowing there is a long steep grade, the first thing you do is back off the
pedal and begin down shifting.
There is one hill on an interstate where I will go down in a lower gear.
About midway, I will stop and park it for a few minutes.
On I-17 in Arizona, I will go through the mountains at 45mph downhill.
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