1. #1
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    18-Wheeler Creams Car in Right Lane - Who's at Fault?

    5:am, Downtown Houston, four lanes in each direction, I'm in the right lane, fixin' to make a right turn to head toward the Main Post Office. 18-wheeler is to my left, no blinker on, decides to make a right turn on red. Stretches his entire length across all four lanes of the street he's turning on to, then proceeds to rake his trailer along the length of my vehicle, rocking and shaking my vehicle until I thought for sure it was going to be knocked over into the light pole and utility box next to me.

    AND the guy didn't stop - didn't even know he'd hit me. I was writing down his license number (after FORCING the door open), and had to jump back in and chase him down and catch him at the next light, and finally got his attention by banging like a banshee on his door.

    We exchanged information and flagged down a cop. I asked if he was going to write the trucker a ticket. The cop said that if he wrote any tickets at all, it would be to ME!

    He kept saying that, "With no witnesses, there's no one to say if the truck did or did not have a tire, or part of a tire, on the white line." Apparently, this officer thinks that if a truck has a tire on the white line dividing the right lane from the second lane, he has a "right" to the entire two lanes. Never mind that he had no blinker on. Never mind that he apparently didn't check either his side mirrors OR peribolic (sp?) mirrors.

    The cop said that I was at fault, for being in the right lane.

    Can that possibly be true?

    Also, with no witnesses, as the cop said, how on Earth could he say the truck DID have a tire on the white lane, so how could he write ME a ticket? ?? There's no evidence - or witness - that I did anything wrong.



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    It's a Civil Matter

    You were probably getting obnoxious so the officer threatened you with a ticket. The officer told you he cannot determine the position of the vehicles prior to the accident. He wasn't there. The police investigate accidents to determine traffic violations, not who repairs whose vehicle. The bottom line is that the officer did not give you a ticket. This is where you report your side to your insurance company as the truck driver does to his. Welcome to the world of litigation.
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  3. #3
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    A couple of questions/clarifications please.

    Quote Originally Posted by the Chools
    5:am, Downtown Houston, four lanes in each direction, I'm in the right lane, fixin' to make a right turn to head toward the Main Post Office. 18-wheeler is to my left, no blinker on, decides to make a right turn on red.
    Was the lane the truck was in also a dedicated right turn lane or straight-through and/or right turn lane? Were you also making a right on red or were you still stopped at the light?

    Quote Originally Posted by the Chools
    Stretches his entire length across all four lanes of the street he's turning on to...
    Side note: If he was driving a full 53-footer in a downtown area with little or no other traffic, using the full space available would help with the tracking of the trailer into the right lane. Is there a city ordinance about bringing that size trailer downtown? Some larger cities limit the size (I sure wouldn't want to try it).

    Quote Originally Posted by the Chools
    AND the guy didn't stop - didn't even know he'd hit me.
    Easy enough to do. A car can be a fly-speck given the weight of a trailer.

    Quote Originally Posted by the Chools
    We exchanged information and flagged down a cop.
    At least he stopped and was willing to do this.

    Quote Originally Posted by the Chools
    I asked if he was going to write the trucker a ticket. The cop said that if he wrote any tickets at all, it would be to ME!
    Not making any judgement here on your part or justifying the officer's, but sometimes it depends on attitudes. A person's approach can make all the difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by the Chools
    He kept saying that, "With no witnesses, there's no one to say if the truck did or did not have a tire, or part of a tire, on the white line." Apparently, this officer thinks that if a truck has a tire on the white line dividing the right lane from the second lane, he has a "right" to the entire two lanes.
    I'm not following this. If his tire was on the dividing line between the two lanes, how is it he was in the outside lane?

    Quote Originally Posted by the Chools
    Never mind that he had no blinker on. Never mind that he apparently didn't check either his side mirrors OR parabolic mirrors.
    For the blinker, again was he in a dedicated turn lane? If so, the assumption should naturally be that he would be turning right. Checking the mirrors isn't necessarily a given, with the size of the blind spots, and even more so if you had been turning at the same time.

  4. #4
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    I've answered this before Chools - police do NOT decide fault - your insurance adjusters do that. Police document what happened and cite anyone who may have contributed to the crash by violating a traffic law. Sometimes, both are cited.

    I'm betting, if you got in his face, the officer might have been considering an interferrence cite. As to the turn, going on the face of what you have given, the trucker could be cited for an unsafe turn.
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    Under Texas law traffic accidents are a "civil matter" unless they are the result of a criminal act. When police officer are called to the scene of a traffic accident are job is to:
    1) Determine if there are any injuries.
    2) Control traffic flow in the area around the accident.
    3) Get the road clear, and everyone out of the way so that the other drivers dont suffer dont suffer neck spasms and have additional accidents at the location.
    4) Determine if there is sufficient proof that Traffic Law had been violated.
    5) Provide and opinion to the DPS of what happened in the crash.

    Its the officers opinion that your were at fault.

    I will not second guess the decision of another officer (that's what IA gets paid for). However based on what you have posted I wouldn't write the drivers of either vehicle a citation

    To answer you question:
    Apparently, this officer thinks that if a truck has a tire on the white line dividing the right lane from the second lane, he has a "right" to the entire two lanes. Never mind that he had no blinker on. Never mind that he apparently didn't check either his side mirrors OR parabolic (sp?) mirrors.
    TxTRC 545.101 (a) To make a right turn at an intersection, an operator shall make both the approach and the turn as closely as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.

    It is physically impossible for an 18-wheeler to make a turn from right hand lane of one street, into the right hand lane of another street. So it is legal for the trucker to turn from the center lane into the center or right of another.

    The blinker is a he said/he said thing. No witness no proof.

    If he didn't check his mirrors, cant prove that either. There are a lot of big blind spots on an 18 wheeler. The parabolic mirror helps, but its possible you could have still been in a blind spot were he just didn't see you.

    As far as the officer writing you a ticket. That may have been a case of an officers poor roadside manor, vs an upset motorist. At 5 am he was either on his way back to the station after a long shift, or he was on he way out starting his watch and he hadn't gotten is coffee and donut yet. He probably took your question on if he was going to write the trucker a ticket as you telling him how to do his job.

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    At 5 am he was either on his way back to the station after a long shift, or he was on he way out starting his watch and he hadn't gotten is coffee and donut yet.

    Probably true. He was not the off. responding to the call. HPD happens to be walking distance from there, and he was probably on his way somewhere else.


    You were probably getting obnoxious so the officer threatened you with a ticket.
    ...sometimes it depends on attitudes. A person's approach can make all the difference.


    Also true. Having been in a roll-over just six months before, and with the ways my van was rocking and moving, I was totally freaked and just saw the roll-over / trapped inside thing happening all over again. PLUS having to chase the guy and bang on his door, yes, I was VERY upset initially. Not screaming at anybody, but not calm, either. And incredulous to the concept that I could be considered at fault.

    The guy didn't even know he had hit me. Easy enough to do. A car can be a fly-speck given the weight of a trailer. At least he stopped and was willing to exchange information.

    All true. And once I stopped seeing my life flashing before my eyes, I said didn't really want him to get a ticket. He didn't do it on purpose. But I did call his company and report his bad driving.

    Was the lane the truck was in also a dedicated right turn lane or straight-through and/or right turn lane? Were you also making a right on red or were you still stopped at the light?


    Ahhh. Now HERE he was wrong, IMO. I was in the right lane, not a designated forced right-turn lane, blinker on. He had no blinker on, and was in the second lane, which is NOT a right-turn-permitted lane. Yes, I realize big trucks need to be over there, in order to maneuver the turn. In fact, when he first started turning, I was watching with interest, thinking about how skillful those drivers are, and how incredibly they work those rigs, managing to miss the obstacles in their way. Until he kept getting closer and closer. Nowhere for me to go.

    I was NOT moving. I was waiting for the light to change, and for him to get of the way. Don't like driving next to those things.

    From what I understood the officer saying, the ticket would have been written to me, because I was not supposed to have been in that lane. IF, that is, the truck had had a right tire on the white line between us. Which the cop said gave him the right to both lanes.

    Hopefully a Texas cop can clarify this. Just doesn't make sense.



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    Quote Originally Posted by the Chools

    Hopefully a Texas cop can clarify this. Just doesn't make sense.


    [/COLOR]

    If his tire was on the white line he would have legally been in both the center and the right lane. The statute I mentioned above allows him to make a wide right turn.

    I dont think i would have issued you a ticket, the HPD officers threat was probably in response to you demanding the trucker get a ticket.
    Last edited by Northtechsan; 08-08-2006 at 11:38 PM.

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    i've worked several accidents exactly like that. i usually write the trucks. just because you have a sticker on your trailer that says "wide right turn" does not equate to right of way, nor does it mean they don't have to use caution. when they make a wide right turn, they have the duty to exercise greater care. it's a turn made from an opposing lane. the trucker would be cited for "turned when unsafe." the scrub marks on the ground are usually pretty clear in these types of accidents because the smaller car is generally pushed sideways. a lot of truck drivers feel they have more protection under the law than they do.

    in Texas, the officer has discretion on any traffic offense. it is his or her decision as to whether or not someone gets cited. if i have good cause, i write everyone who violated a law resulting in the accident. if i don't, i put my opinion down on the accident report. you sometimes have to write a citation differently than you would had you actually witnessed the accident.

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    Th trucking company will pay. I am surprised that they didn'thave a rep respond tot he scene. They like to do that, they like to settle fast, and they like you to sign off on no injuries. The therory being the longer you have think about it the more damage and or injuries that may appear.

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    5:am, Downtown Houston, four lanes in each direction, I'm in the right lane, fixin' to make a right turn to head toward the Main Post Office. 18-wheeler is to my left, no blinker on, decides to make a right turn on red. Stretches his entire length across all four lanes of the street he's turning on to, then proceeds to rake his trailer along the length of my vehicle, rocking and shaking my vehicle until I thought for sure it was going to be knocked over into the light pole and utility box next to me.
    Truck in second lane, no signal ... as if going straight ... truck turns right tearing up car in right lane, truck driver is guilty of making unsafe turn ... or even reckless driving. Anytime he turns or partially turns from a lane to another he has the obligation to signal such intention and to make sure such can be done safely. You were obviously in right lane, else how could he have raked the side of your car?
    AND the guy didn't stop - didn't even know he'd hit me. I was writing down his license number (after FORCING the door open), and had to jump back in and chase him down and catch him at the next light, and finally got his attention by banging like a banshee on his door.
    He may not have realised he hit a car, windows rolled up, stereo on, etc ... much greater mass (40,000-80,000 lbs. vs 3,000-4,000 lbs) ... so no hit & run as knowledge is an ellement. Glad you caught him.
    We exchanged information and flagged down a cop. I asked if he was going to write the trucker a ticket. The cop said that if he wrote any tickets at all, it would be to ME!
    He kept saying that, "With no witnesses, there's no one to say if the truck did or did not have a tire, or part of a tire, on the white line." Apparently, this officer thinks that if a truck has a tire on the white line dividing the right lane from the second lane, he has a "right" to the entire two lanes. Never mind that he had no blinker on. Never mind that he apparently didn't check either his side mirrors OR peribolic (sp?) mirrors.

    The cop said that I was at fault, for being in the right lane.

    Can that possibly be true?
    Lazy cop maybe, didn't want to be bothered, wants to stay out of traffic court so he can deal with "real criminals" as he would say, afraid he'll get tied up 15 minutes filling out an accident report, hasn't had same happen to him or his wife "yet", etc ... lots of reasons maybe ... we'll never know.
    From what you describe, not adding or taking away any facts, simply what you said .... truck driver's fault.
    Also, with no witnesses, as the cop said, how on Earth could he say the truck DID have a tire on the white lane, so how could he write ME a ticket? ?? There's no evidence - or witness - that I did anything wrong.
    Exactly .... if he wants to go down that road.

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    FedCop... Re insurance and settling... This was funny ...

    I was still upset when I got home, and wanted to get in touch with the guy's insurance co. IMMEDIATELY, even though it was 6 o'clock in the morning. So naturally, nobody was in any office or answering any phone number, and I was left hitting button after button and getting recordings.

    The guy who hit me drove for a meat packing plant. When I finally got a machine where I could leave a message regarding my insurance claim, the recorded voice said I could leave my info regarding an insurance claim - for a sick cow! !!!

    It took about a month, but my van eventually got fixed. What made me mad is, the estimates I got all were right at $2,500. The cow insurance company really REALLY pushed for me to use their buddy's body shop down the road. Since I would not, they wrote me a check that my body shop had to accept - for $1,800.



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1042 Trooper
    I've answered this before Chools - police do NOT decide fault - your insurance adjusters do that.
    Is this the case everywhere? When I got into my accident (in California), the officer's report stated that I was completely at fault for making an unsafe lane change which caused the accident.
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    Quote Originally Posted by t150vsuptpr
    Truck in second lane, no signal ... as if going straight ... truck turns right tearing up car in right lane, truck driver is guilty of making unsafe turn ... or even reckless driving. Anytime he turns or partially turns from a lane to another he has the obligation to signal such intention and to make sure such can be done safely. You were obviously in right lane, else how could he have raked the side of your car?
    While I agree with you of a possible charge of Unsafe turn,
    The reckless charge without more proof is a bit far fetched.

    If it he did cause he thought if was his right to do so and screw the car. yea, I see it there. There is disregard for another's safety.

    But if ran the guy over because he was in a blind spot. I don't see how you could justify reckless.

    Then again, neither of us were there and don't have all the facts to go on.

    As defined in my states vehicle code.

    Reckless driving.

    (a) Any person who drives any vehicle carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard for the rights or safety of persons or property, or without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property, shall be guilty of reckless driving.
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  14. #14
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    The person at fault is whoever the insurance company deems at fault :P.

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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by Cptdragn
    While I agree with you of a possible charge of Unsafe turn,
    The reckless charge without more proof is a bit far fetched.

    If it he did cause he thought if was his right to do so and screw the car. yea, I see it there. There is disregard for another's safety.

    But if ran the guy over because he was in a blind spot. I don't see how you could justify reckless.

    Then again, neither of us were there and don't have all the facts to go on.

    As defined in my states vehicle code.

    Reckless driving.

    (a) Any person who drives any vehicle carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard for the rights or safety of persons or property, or without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property, shall be guilty of reckless driving.
    There you go, not so different from my state. While we didn't see it, we have the following written statement of a witness.
    5:am, Downtown Houston, four lanes in each direction, I'm in the right lane, fixin' to make a right turn to head toward the Main Post Office. 18-wheeler is to my left, no blinker on, decides to make a right turn on red. Stretches his entire length across all four lanes of the street he's turning on to, then proceeds to rake his trailer along the length of my vehicle, rocking and shaking my vehicle until I thought for sure it was going to be knocked over into the light pole and utility box next to me.
    I think it is fair to expect a car to pull up beside you if you have a vacant right turn lane to the right of your truck and you aren't giving a signal. To assume is to fail to use due care I think.

    Our code sections as I was considering them when answering:
    § 46.2-852. Reckless driving; general rule.

    Irrespective of the maximum speeds permitted by law, any person who drives a vehicle on any highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person shall be guilty of reckless driving.
    or
    § 46.2-860. Failing to give proper signals.

    A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who fails to give adequate and timely signals of intention to turn, partly turn, slow down, or stop, as required by Article 6 (§ 46.2-848 et seq.) of this chapter.
    and if looking for "non RD" type charges, there is
    § 46.2-848. Signals required on backing, stopping, or turning.

    Every driver who intends to back, stop, turn, or partly turn from a direct line shall first see that such movement can be made safely and, whenever the operation of any other vehicle may be affected by such movement, shall give the signals required in this article, plainly visible to the driver of such other vehicle, of his intention to make such movement.
    or
    § 46.2-846. Required position and method of turning at intersections; local regulations.

    A. Except where turning is prohibited, a driver intending to turn at an intersection or other location on any highway shall execute the turn as provided in this section.

    1. Right turns: Both the approach for a right turn and a right turn shall be made as close as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway.
    That last one does not grant him the right of way when he's in the second lane just because he's a big truck. He still has the obligation to make sure such turn may be made safely and to signal his intent beforehand.
    Next time he'ld make sure that lane was vacant by sinmply using part of it to prevent a car from pulling up there.

    (These sections and others may be located at our state's legislative websight.)

    Last edited by t150vsuptpr; 08-16-2006 at 10:14 PM.
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    I blame the semi-truck. Just because it has 14 more wheels than a car doesn't mean it's King of the Road and should get no more breaks than anyone else.

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