PDA

View Full Version : Following Too Closely - Traffic Ticket Q


Kiros
11-08-2007, 01:24 PM
Let me start off by saying that this is not a post asking for legal advice, if for no other reason than $103 is not worth missing work for to challenge.

I was involved in a (very minor) fender bender this morning on my commute into work. There's a long story, but the short version is that the car in front of me decelrated at a rapid rate, and I nudged his bumper. There was very minimal damage to both cars; for some reason, he had called the police before I even had a chance to ask if he was alright (that reason, likely as not, is to get my insurance company to pay for prior damage to his vehicle... but that's for a rant to be named later). Anyways, end of the story, I fully realize that I am almost certainly going to be found liable from an insurance point of view, despite the fact that the "accident" was precipitated by his stopping from 30-40mph for little reason. I do not contest this.

The part where my question comes in is this: almost without thinking about it, the officer at the site issued me a traffic ticket for following too closely (statute 14-240 in the state of Connecticut, as I recall, though I left it in the car). Literally the only reason that this possibly could have been issued is "I hit him"; there was no witness who said that I was following too closely, and given the circumstances there is no particular reason to believe that I was following too closely other than the accident itself. In fact, I was approximately 2.5-3 car lengths behind the car in front of me, which was long enough for me to spend a quarter of a second in my head going "IS HE SERIOUSLY BRAKING TO A COMPLETE STOP, WHAT THE HELL?!", slam on my brakes, and lightly bump his rear end instead of smashing into it like he probably deserved.

If I were so inclined to challenge this ticket, it would seem to me that The People would have no leg to stand on... UNLESS the existence of the fender bender itself is by its very nature acceptable proof in court that I was following too closely, regardless of any other circumstances relating to the accident. The idealist, principled part of me finds this very hard to believe... but the realist realizes that this is EXACTLY how the state would define it if they wanted automatic revenue out of any accident that they sent police to, regardless of the circumstances.

So, in theory-world, if I were to plead not guilty instead of paying the fine, is the mere existence of the accident sufficient proof for the state's case?

Colophon
11-08-2007, 01:30 PM
I would say the fact that you failed to come to a safe stop within the distance you could see to be clear implies pretty strongly that you were driving too close. But then I'm not a lawyer.

Joey P
11-08-2007, 01:31 PM
In fact, I was approximately 2.5-3 car lengths behind the car in front of me, which was long enough for me to spend a quarter of a second in my head going "IS HE SERIOUSLY BRAKING TO A COMPLETE STOP, WHAT THE HELL?!", slam on my brakes, and lightly bump his rear end instead of smashing into it like he probably deserved.
I think the ONLY response you're likely to get on this board will be similar to mine.

If you tapped his bumper, you were to close. If you were 3.5 car lengths back, you would have stopped 5 feet short of his bumper. You could have then proceded to pull around him make a gesture of your choice and move on with life.

The point is, you hit him, you were to close, there's no two ways around this. You should always be far enough back that if the person in front of you decides to screech to a halt (with or without reason) you have time to stop as well.


ETA: It's YOU that doesn't have a leg to stand on, not 'the people' and I think you can expect a pile on of other posters who feel the same way.

Joey P
11-08-2007, 01:35 PM
So, in theory-world, if I were to plead not guilty instead of paying the fine, is the mere existence of the accident sufficient proof for the state's case?
I'd be curious to see how you would defend yourself in this case. "He stopped for no reason" isn't gonna do it. You can't follow to close just because the person in front of you dosen't have a reason to stop. What if a deer jumped in the road, or a kid, or a car pulled out of their driveway without looking.

Sorry buddy, you're on the hook for this one.

RedSwinglineOne
11-08-2007, 01:40 PM
IANAL, but I think a reasonable person would assume one of two things,
a. You were following too close.
b. You were not paying attention.

Inattention is often listed as a cause for accidents, and if you admit you were not paying attention/were distracted, that might get you out of the following too close ticket. I don't know however, if you can then be cited for not paying attention. I'm not sure what ticket that would be. If you are cited for reckless driving, that I think is much worse.

Ravenman
11-08-2007, 01:41 PM
I certainly have my own views on the subject, but I looked up the Connecticut law on the issue. Cite. (http://law.justia.com/connecticut/codes/title14/sec14-240.html) Interestingly enough, the statute contains this note: Cited. 4 CA 451, 453. Cited. 11 CA 122, 124. Cited. 17 CA 209, 210. Application of "following too closely" statute discussed; statute directed against practice of "tailgating"; legislature did not intend provisions of statute to apply in all rear-end collisions. 35 CA 464, 465, 468, 469, 472, 473.I cannot find what this note refers to, however.

I also wonder whether civil responsibility (whether you can be held responsible for damages to the other person's car) and responsibility for the traffic infraction could have different standards. If the legislature did not intend the "following too closely" law to apply to all rear-end collisions, I suppose one could say that someone can be liable for the damages to another car without having committed a traffic infraction, depending on exactly what the legislature intended and the precise facts of the crash.

Blaster Master
11-08-2007, 01:43 PM
I can only speak for laws here in Virginia, which is a 100% liability state. Either way, to my knowledge, the vast majority of the time the blame for a rear-end collision goes to the one who rear-ended the other. However, there are plenty of cases where this isn't true, such as pulling out in front or, in your case, unnecessary stopping/slowing.

The ticket itself may or may not be worth protesting (probably not, unless the points are crippling); however, the ticket is sort of a defacto way of assigning fault for the accident. If you believe you are not at fault, it may behoove you to speak with your insurance agent and/or a lawyer because such a ticket may not cost you only the $100 of the ticket, but a deductable and higher premiums in the future as well.

I was barely tapped in the bumber enough for some some scraped paint and a dent, and it was clearly not my fault (the guy behind took off faster at the green light than I did), but it ended up costing around $800 if IIRC to repair it.

You will need to look into your local laws to determine what constitutes "following to closely", but FWIW, the rule of thumb I've always had is that if I don't have enough time to react and come to a complete stop, then it's my fault. Of course, that's not always possible (in fact, it's a rarity in DC metro area traffic). However, someone effectively slamming on their brakes without reason probably puts him at fault.

Of course, standard disclaimers apply: IANAL, YMMV, void where prohibited, etc.

Kiros
11-08-2007, 01:49 PM
Oh, I have no doubt that I'm on the hook, and as I said, I fully intend to pay the fine in question. However, I do NOT believe that I was following too closely. As I'm sure most of you who commute near a city of any size are aware, three car lengths isn't so much a following distance as it is an invitation for someone to cut in front of you and make it one car length or less. I have no problem with the civil/insurance definition that I am liable for the accident; that's the way these things work. I do have a problem with the ticket, but not enough of one that I won't pay it - this is my first ticket ever, actually. My 'general question' (rather than the IMHO of whether it was my fault) was whether the accident itself was sufficient proof of the infraction. For instance, it's commonly said (I have no idea if this is true) that in a speeding case, if the officer doesn't show up at the trial, you will win almost automatically for lack of a prosecution witness.

I have to go back to work, where the SDMB is blocked, unfortunately; on preview, the point of view that I'm coming from is basically what Ravenman is saying.

Giles
11-08-2007, 01:51 PM
I think that it's practically by definition that if you run into the back of another car you were either following too close or not paying attention. The only case might be if the car in front stopped faster than normal braking, e.g., if a truck in front of it dropped a large object in its path, and the car collided with the object. You should drive as if there might be an emergency, such as a child running across the road in front, at any time, and that the first you will know is seeing the brake lights.

running coach
11-08-2007, 02:01 PM
Stopping distances. (http://www.driveandstayalive.com/info%20section/stopping-distances.htm)

Ravenman
11-08-2007, 02:07 PM
As I'm sure most of you who commute near a city of any size are aware, three car lengths isn't so much a following distance as it is an invitation for someone to cut in front of you and make it one car length or less. Actually, if you look at the statute, it says that if a "caravan" does not allow enough space for someone to safely enter between cars, that constitutes an infraction of "following too closely."
I think that it's practically by definition that if you run into the back of another car you were either following too close or not paying attention.I personally agree with this 100%, but it is interesting that the Connecticut legislature appears to believe there may be exceptions to this view. Alas, after further searching, I cannot find any more discussion on this issue.

glee
11-08-2007, 02:11 PM
However, I do NOT believe that I was following too closely.


You hit the car in front of you in traffic, so you WERE travelling too closely.


As I'm sure most of you who commute near a city of any size are aware, three car lengths isn't so much a following distance as it is an invitation for someone to cut in front of you and make it one car length or less.


These drivers who cut in are not leaving enough room to stop safely. Therefore they are driving badly. That is no excuse for you to drive badly.
My mate was a police driver (and took all the advanced driving courses they had).
He commented that every time someone cut in, he would back off to a safe distance.
He also didn't get annoyed when this happened, but stayed alert.
He never had an accident.

Saint Cad
11-08-2007, 02:34 PM
IANAL but would like to present a new take on this. Talk to your insurance agent NOW!!!
It smells like an insurance scam. Stopping for no reason? Calling cops before you even get out of the car? He sounds like a pro.

kanicbird
11-08-2007, 03:11 PM
Occupying the same space at the same time would be following too close.

Joey P
11-08-2007, 03:21 PM
IANAL but would like to present a new take on this. Talk to your insurance agent NOW!!!
It smells like an insurance scam. Stopping for no reason? Calling cops before you even get out of the car? He sounds like a pro.
The car may have been stopping for a reason not known to the OP (small animal in the road, driver thought he had a flat and paniced, etc...). As for calling the police before getting out of the car, I've done that several times both when I was at fault and when I wasn't. As long as there are no injuries, the sooner the police can get there the better.

SmellMyWort
11-08-2007, 04:21 PM
The note in question quoted by Ravenman might be for instances where one car gets hit from behind and plows into the car in front of it.

DSYoungEsq
11-08-2007, 04:29 PM
(a) No driver of a motor vehicle shall follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having regard for the speed of such vehicles, the traffic upon and the condition of the highway and weather conditions.In citing you, the officer is determining that, given the speeds, the weather and the highway conditions, you were closer than was reasonable and prudent. In short, a reasonable person would have followed at a distance that would have precluded running into the car in front of them.

I have always been told that the reasonable distance equates to a medium car length for every 10 mph you are doing. Thus, for example, in a 45 mph zone, you need to be 4.5 + car lengths behind. Another good rule of thumb is the 2 sec. rule, which turns this into something more easily measured: stay far enough behind that it takes two seconds to reach the same point the car in front of you is at when you start counting.

Now it is possible that you were being reasonable and prudent, and still hit the car in front of you. For example, the car's decelleration might have been so rapid that no reasonable person would have been able to anticipate it and correct for it. But, as a general rule of thumb, you are supposed to be far enough back that an unexpected stop can be corrected for. In short, the officer's determination that you were too close, based upon the fact you hit the car in front of you, is likely based on sufficient evidence for a conviction at trial.

Frankly, most of us follow too closely. Food for thought... :eek:

Santo Rugger
11-08-2007, 05:24 PM
By your own admittance, you had 1/4 of a second between realizing the car was stopping, and hitting them. It takes the average person 3/4 of a second to begin breaking after the visual stimulus. 3/4 > 1/4.

Chief Pedant
11-08-2007, 05:48 PM
The standard here in Illinois is "reasonable and prudent" and not a defined distance. http://law.onecle.com/illinois/625ilcs5/11-710.html This would seem to leave some wiggle room, but not much. It's hard to argue here that you left a reasonable and prudent distance but that it just wasn't enough distance in which to stop.

In my area, I've been told by officers that they tend to issue a citation if there is property damage or personal injury, and let the courts sort it out. I can understand this position, especially if I am the strikee instead of the striker. Absent someone getting a ticket, it's more difficult to prove who was at fault from an insurance standpoint. From the officer's standpoint there would be a reasonable inference that you were following too closely, and I think the chances of successfully arguing otherwise are low.

I agree you should have your antenna up about the possibility of insurance fraud, but you know the details of why the car stopped better than we. I also agree that if we all left reasonable and prudent distances no one would get to work.

Suck it up and let it go.

KneadToKnow
11-08-2007, 06:16 PM
The first ticket I ever got was because I locked my brakes and rear-ended a vehicle which was stopped at a stop sign. The officer who wrote the ticket just happened to be the son of my elementary school's secretary, who lived two doors up the street from me, and who I had known literally all my life. He gave it to me very straight when he handed me the ticket and said, "I have to charge you with something, because this was clearly your fault. I wrote it for travelling too fast for conditions."

KidScruffy
11-08-2007, 07:26 PM
So, in theory-world, if I were to plead not guilty instead of paying the fine, is the mere existence of the accident sufficient proof for the state's case?
IANAL either, but in the real-world, people often plead not-guilty to traffic infractions and hope that the arresting officer doesn't make it to the trial, thus the state doesn't have much, or enough (or any?) evidence to charge them. In this situation, since the officer didn't witness the accident, wouldn't the state have to rely on the other driver? And wouldn't he be unlikely to show up as well?

from_a_to_z
11-08-2007, 07:32 PM
I think that it's practically by definition that if you run into the back of another car you were either following too close or not paying attention. Allstate.com (http://www.allstate.com/about/fraud.aspx) has helpfully posted some rear-end "Schemes and Scams" like "Swoop and Squat" and "Start and Stop". Also, the car in front could back into yours.

DSYoungEsq
11-08-2007, 07:37 PM
IANAL either, but in the real-world, people often plead not-guilty to traffic infractions and hope that the arresting officer doesn't make it to the trial, thus the state doesn't have much, or enough (or any?) evidence to charge them. In this situation, since the officer didn't witness the accident, wouldn't the state have to rely on the other driver? And wouldn't he be unlikely to show up as well?
The state would be able to enter into evidence the testimony of the officer, sufficient to establish that the accident happened. There would be information supporting the fact that the accident occurred as described by the drivers (skid marks, for example, terminating at the spot the cars crashed). This would be sufficient to establish the occurrence of the accident and the violation of the law, even without the other driver's testimony.

Of course, if the state really needed it, they would simply subpoena the other driver to testify.

Kiros
11-08-2007, 08:38 PM
I want to thank most of you, but in particular DSYoungEsq - I knew the angel-drivers would come out to play but you sparked entirely the kind of discussion/response that I was looking for.

If I am understanding correctly, the existence of the accident doesn't necessarily guarantee the case, but shifts the burden of proof onto the defendant to establish that they were NOT following too closely - which is then by definition extremely difficult to prove, given that "reasonable and prudent" would expect that there would be time to stop in any circumstances.

By your own admittance, you had 1/4 of a second between realizing the car was stopping, and hitting them. It takes the average person 3/4 of a second to begin breaking after the visual stimulus. 3/4 > 1/4.

If you read again, I actually said it was a quarter of a second for my brain to realize what the heck was going on in the unexpected situation, and getting myself into action. I then had enough time to hit the brakes and slow from about 30 to about 5mph at time of impact, so definitely a couple/few seconds in total. I'm a dork, so if I have fifteen minutes this weekend I'll probably look up the data and run the maths to see how much time/space I actually had, and if my memory is betraying me or I was closer than I thought.

Chief Pedant - I am definitely going to "suck it up and let it go", with the one caveat that I am going to make ESPECIALLY sure that the other driver does not claim damages in excess of what came from this accident. I had the damage appraised at my insurance-approved garage on the way home from work, and it was estimated at about $750 (including labor) to fix my car. Now, I drive a new Toyota Yaris (delicious mileage for my 120mi round trip commute), which is about the smallest car on the road, and with a front end that collapses fairly easily in crash tests... the car that I bumped was a 2002 Nissan Altima... I am going to make sure the insurance company is especially on guard. The officer wrote "severe left rear" damage on the police report, even though the left rear light was basically electrical-taped on prior to the accident, and the driver of the other car mentioned to said officer that he had been in a previous collision (no mention of such was on the report).

Kaboodle
11-08-2007, 09:38 PM
I am not a lawyer.

I've always known this rule as maintaining a 'safe and clear distance'. If you hit someone from behind, you probably failed to maintain a safe and clear distance.

The only exception I know of to this rule, and it would be difficult to prove without a third party witness, is if a car changed lanes in front of you and then immediately slammed on his brakes. In that instance you did not have time to establish a safe and clear distance before he stopped.

DrDeth
11-08-2007, 10:35 PM
(At least in CA) I thought the PO had to personally witness an Infraction in order to cite? :confused:

Joey P
11-09-2007, 12:23 AM
For example, the car's decelleration might have been so rapid that no reasonable person would have been able to anticipate it and correct for it.
One of the things my drivers ed teacher taught us is to always have an 'escape route.' That is, when ever you're driving, always know where you can swerve to should something like this happen. I know, it's not always possible, but it's something I think about when I'm driving.

The officer wrote "severe left rear" damage on the police report, even though the left rear light was basically electrical-taped on prior to the accident, and the driver of the other car mentioned to said officer that he had been in a previous collision (no mention of such was on the report). If I were you, I would go and track down that officer and see if there is anyway that can be added on to the report somehow. That may come in handy. Of course, if the other driver mentioned that, it's probably not a scam. In fact, if it were a scam, I don't think the electrical tape would be there to begin with.

glee
11-09-2007, 05:51 AM
I want to thank most of you, but in particular DSYoungEsq - I knew the angel-drivers would come out to play but you sparked entirely the kind of discussion/response that I was looking for.


An interesting choice of words.

You post you had an accident and that it was not your fault. When we point out it was your fault (both legally and according to safe driving practice), you ignore us, but throw in 'angel-drivers'. Is this a bad thing in your world? Are you admitting to being a 'devil-driver'.

Here's the thing.
Why were you driving so close you couldn't stop?
Were you ... in a hurry?
If you leave enough space to stop and a reckless driver cuts in, does it annoy you? Do you want to get even?

Wallenstein
11-09-2007, 06:29 AM
Brief anecdote:

Although I agree with the principle that "you hit him therefore you were too close", the police in the UK have been reporting on a scam in London recently.

A car will brake v. sharply on a roundabout, causing whoever's following to slam into the back.

The scammers will then jump out of the car and insist on payment for damage, in return for not calling the police / insurance companies.

Because most people are willing to keep their no-claims discount they pay up to 250-300 for the matter to be dropped.

However, the police will charge such antics with dangerous driving.

So it's not a "default" law where "you hit him = you're guilty", there is room for context.

Chew Barker
11-09-2007, 07:10 AM
My 'general question' (rather than the IMHO of whether it was my fault) was whether the accident itself was sufficient proof of the infraction.
Absolutely not, well, not where I live anyway.
You and the car infront of you collided, does not mean you are to blame becuase you were following !


You hit the car in front of you in traffic, so you WERE travelling too closely.
There is either a serious lack of common sense on these boards or very strange understanding of the laws in some parts of the world.

I was a passenger in an traffic collision similar to this. We were exiting a roundabout onto a long straight 60mph limit road. As we followed the car infront, both accelerating, the driver in our car noticed a large gap in the oncoming traffic. We acclerated towards the rear of the car infront (which was probaly only doing 45- 50 at this point) and timing our approach to pull out and overtake (idicators blinking from the start of our increaed approach). As our car was about halfway out and approximately 8 feet from the car infront, the car infront stood on his breaks, my driver attempted to swerve but caught the rear wing of the car infront.

The other driver was going mental, swearing his head of at my cousin (my driver) saying women should not be driving etc etc. He was probably about 25 and looked like a chav. No one was hurt. The police arrived and took a statement from both drivers, myself and the car behind us chiped in aswell.

The police did not say, "well you hit him so its your fault".
Instead the chav was considered to be driving recklessly and performing an emergency stop with no clear sign of an emergency.

Wallenstein
11-09-2007, 07:24 AM
Instead the chav was considered to be driving recklessly and performing an emergency stop with no clear sign of an emergency.
Yep, that was the thrust of the reports I referenced in my post above.

You can't simply stand on the brakes and then say "you were following too closely".

I guess, though, that if there HAD been a genuine reason to stop your cousin would have been at fault?

Joey P
11-09-2007, 09:01 AM
We acclerated towards the rear of the car infront (which was probaly only doing 45- 50 at this point) and timing our approach to pull out and overtake (idicators blinking from the start of our increaed approach). As our car was about halfway out and approximately 8 feet from the car infront, the car infront stood on his breaks, my driver attempted to swerve but caught the rear wing of the car infront.
So the car is going 45 (I assume that's kph, which works out to about 25 mph) and you were 8 feet behind him. That's just dumb. If you're 8 feet away from a car going more then 10 mph, you're asking to hit them. If you were following from a proper distance they could slam into a brick wall and you would still have time to stop.
I'm sick of people saying the car stopped for no reason. Who cares if the car stopped for no reason, you would have hit them if they stopped for a good reason to, it doesn't make a difference.


The scammers will then jump out of the car and insist on payment for damage, in return for not calling the police / insurance companies.

Because most people are willing to keep their no-claims discount they pay up to 250-300 for the matter to be dropped.
I sure as hell wouldn't pay for that. I'm not saying I wouldn't pay for the damage I caused, but NO money changes hand without at least a police report, and a check written from myself to the other party. I'd be concerened they would take the cash and then file a claim anyways.

Chew Barker
11-09-2007, 09:37 AM
So the car is going 45 (I assume that's kph, which works out to about 25 mph) and you were 8 feet behind him. That's just dumb. If you're 8 feet away from a car going more then 10 mph, you're asking to hit them
firstly: it is 45mph
secondly: I wasn't driving, don't call me dumb
thirdly: This is one of two stardard overtaking procedures taught in the UK on a pass plus course. One method is: follow car, pull out, accelerate past, pull in. Another method is: close in (accelerate) on car infront to between 1.5 and 2 car lenths, move to centre of road and finally into oncoming lane (getting closer, one part of a car could be about 8 feet from the car infront) all the while increasing speed to safely pass the slower car.

My cousing was not tailgaiting at 8 feet, this is closest the car got when she was atleast halfway pulled out whilst performing the manouver.

Kiros
11-09-2007, 10:12 AM
An interesting choice of words.

You post you had an accident and that it was not your fault. When we point out it was your fault (both legally and according to safe driving practice), you ignore us, but throw in 'angel-drivers'. Is this a bad thing in your world? Are you admitting to being a 'devil-driver'.

Here's the thing.
Why were you driving so close you couldn't stop?
Were you ... in a hurry?
If you leave enough space to stop and a reckless driver cuts in, does it annoy you? Do you want to get even?

I am on a short break, so I don't have the luxury to give this the reply that it (doesn't) deserve, but I would note that the original question was:

Is the mere existence of the accident proof of the state's case?

So you can surely see where I might appreciate responses that go past black and white to look at the law in question, the way the burden of proof works, how it might be affected by varying laws in their own jurisdictions, and other material items.

As to the choice of words, I am clearly Road Raging all over this one. Definitely. (Is this a forum where the roll-eyes can be construed as an insult? I don't really post in GQ that often.)

To humor your questions, though:
Because I was following at a distance that would likely pass any DMV test or police observation in the country, had this specific situation not happened; thus, while I accept my fault for the accident for most of the reasons cited in this thread (particularly that I should be aware of any possible situation), I wanted to discuss if there was some contention, somewhere, that there's the tiniest bit of a possibility that it could be described as a "reasonable and prudent" distance.

No, I was not in a hurry, as I have no specific time that I must arrive at work, within reason.

Yes, but in a mildly miffed sort of way, rather than in an annoyed and angry sort of way.

I would find a sort of humorous schadenfreude in "getting even" with every driver who does something I don't like on the road, but until wireless networking improves to the point where I can virtually head-smack someone sixty feet in front of me, it doesn't seem very likely.

Joey P
11-09-2007, 11:05 AM
firstly: it is 45mph
Well then it's not dumb, it's really fucking stupid to be 8 feet behind a car going 45 mph.
It doens't matter if that's what they teach you. What they should teach you is not to trust other drivers. Always assume that something may happen that will cause the car in front of you to slam on it's brakes. Be it a kid in the road, a small (or large) animal darting into the street, or, hell, the driver could just be stupid, that happens too.

secondly: I wasn't driving, don't call me dumb
Sorry, didn't mean to imply that. I knew you weren't driving, I just got my reply mixed up.

Loach
11-09-2007, 01:54 PM
(At least in CA) I thought the PO had to personally witness an Infraction in order to cite? :confused:


I can't guarantee that it is the same in California but I am sure it is similar. There is a difference between "Hey that guy ran a red light back there!" and an accident. If there is just an accusation then no ticket can be written. If the complainant wishes to file a citizen's complaint they can. In an accident it is completely different. Then there is actual physical evidence of what happened to verify the eyewitness accounts. An officer does not have to see the accident to write a ticket. Thats why they teach course like Crash Investigation I and II, Vehicle Dynamics and Accident Reconstruction. I always subpeona the other driver. Sometimes the other driver does not show up and there is not enough physical evidence that I observed to continue with the case and I tell the prosecutor to drop it. Sometimes there is plenty of physical evidence to go forward. I have never lost an accident case in court.

As to the OP, you were behind a car too close to stop when it did. You were following too close. It being not worth your trouble to fight is up to you. I don't know the laws in CT and even with cites I don't know how the law has been interpreted in the state. I can tell you that following too close is a serious infraction in NJ, 5 points. Personally in the accident you describe I would probably have written a careless driving ticket instead(2 points). I have only written someone for tailgating a few times since it is so serious a charge.

RogueRacer
11-09-2007, 03:57 PM
I find it interesting that the two UK posters are citing a different logic than the US posters. Honestly, with my driving style I would favor the UK approach. Living in the states though, all (anecdotal) evidence I've seen points to hitting someone from behind will be your fault.

jtgain
11-09-2007, 05:27 PM
I sure as hell wouldn't pay for that. I'm not saying I wouldn't pay for the damage I caused, but NO money changes hand without at least a police report, and a check written from myself to the other party. I'd be concerened they would take the cash and then file a claim anyways.

If I was clearly at fault, I would jump at such an opportunity. They could file a claim later if they wanted, but they sure as hell wouldn't know my name to file a claim on me. That's what the cash is for.

Why would you want the police and insurance companies involved when you could pay a couple of hundred bucks and be done with it instead of paying:

1. The increased insurance premium
2. The citation that the officer writes
3. Traffic school
4. Court costs

Joey P
11-09-2007, 08:02 PM
If I was clearly at fault, I would jump at such an opportunity. They could file a claim later if they wanted, but they sure as hell wouldn't know my name to file a claim on me. That's what the cash is for.


"Officer he didn't stop, he just hit me and kept going...here's his licensce plate number." Remember, you're dealing with people already running a scam.

kunilou
11-09-2007, 09:49 PM
The OP reminds me very much of an accident I was in a few years ago, when a brand new, 15 yr. old driver rear ended me. Putting it simply, the car in front of me stopped, I stopped, she didn't stop in time.

I told the investigating officer that I didn't think she was reckless or careless -- except that she didn't stop in time -- and he chose not to give her a ticket. Instead he told her "You have the obligation to be aware of what the car in front of you is doing, and if it stops, you have to be far enough behind it to stop safely. So even though I'm not giving you a ticket, you're at fault for this accident."