Traffic Collisions

Traffic collisions are a part of everyday life, but the aftermath of a collision can leave motorists confused. Traffic collisions happen almost instantly and often involve several steps after the collision occurred such as: exchanging information with the other involved parties, filing a police report, and contacting the insurance company. During this article, we will take a closer look at traffic collisions and answer some common questions associate with these unpleasant events.

Traffic collisions are rarely referred to as "traffic accidents" by law enforcement any longer because they're usually not accidents. In most incidents, the party most at fault in a traffic collision violated the law, which caused the collision to occur. This is called the "Primary Collision Factor." When an Officer investigates a collision they will usually render an opinion as to how the collision occurred; thus, identifying a Primary Collision Factor that is associated with a statutory law such as: speeding, failing to stop at a stop sign or unsafe starting.

In order to reach an opinion as to how the collision occurred, an Officer will generally interview the involved drivers at the scene if both drivers are available and any nearby witnesses who observed the collision. In some instances video surveillance can be resourceful in determining how a collision occurred. Officers try to identify an "Area of Impact", which is the approximate area where the two parties collided resulting in damage or injury. The Area of Impact is crucial in determining fault; especially when collisions occur in uncontrolled intersection.

Once the Officer completes their investigation, the driver who is most at fault can be issued a traffic citation via mail. If the at fault driver is cited, it is usually for the violation associated with the Primary Collision Factor. Often times the driver who is most at fault realizes they are at fault, but did not know they broke the law until they receive a citation in the mail.

In some instances when the party most at fault is issued a citation for the primary collision factor the violation does not seem to be applicable. For instance, someone is driving15-MPH in a posted 30-MPH zone while approaching a traffic signal. The signal changes, but they cannot stop in time and rear end a vehicle, which stopped has directly in front of them for the red light. The Primary Collision Factor is most likely going to be unsafe speed even though the driver was not exceeding the posted speed limit. The reason is simple. If a driver cannot stop in time to avoid a collision, they should have been driving slower. This refers to "Prima Facia" speed or in other words "a speed that is safe for conditions."

When a collision occurs, important for all the involved parties to find a safe place to pull over and stop. Once a collision occurs, the involved drivers should exchange insurance information and can call the local law enforcement agency having jurisdiction where the collision occurred. If by some chance you strike a parked vehicle, sign or other property and cause damage; you must make and attempt to locate the owner of the damaged property. Once an attempt to locate the owner of the property is made and failed, the law requires the at fault motorist to leave a written notice giving their name, statement of the circumstances, and notify the law enforcement agency having local jurisdiction where the collision occurred.

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