Transportation and Vehicle Safety/Tickets

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Question
QUESTION: I know this isn't specifically your expertise but maybe you know a thing or two about traffic ticket procedures? I have looked all over online to find a traffic law expert to help me understand how these things go and mean and haven't found anyone. You're probably the closest thing to a traffic law expert I've been able to find. Would you be willing to field my question? I don't need legal advice.

ANSWER: James,

I can try, at least from my area of expertise. Ask away.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I got a ticket last month or so for going out of turn at an all way stop. I believe it had been my turn but that's probably irrelevant as I don't have a car camera. I was wondering if they ever throw tickets like this out? I mean I wasn't speeding or talking on my phone or parking in a fire lane. And what does it mean to plead innocent? I have gotten a speeding ticket in the past, pleaded innocence and still had to pay a fine, lost points on my license, and paid for and took a class to get them back. Judge never asked a single question. Almost seems equivalent to be guilty?

Answer
Hi James,

This seems strange to me.  I understand ticketing someone for a "rolling stop" or failure to stop at a stop sign, but "going out of turn"?  I'm not in New York, but the rule here in Pennsylvania is to yield right-of-way to the driver to your right at an all-way stop (assuming you both got there at the same time).

To prove that you moved "out of turn" at an intersection places a substantial burden on the ticketing officer.  He needs to prove the order in which all of the vehicles arrived at the intersection, as well as the order in which all of the vehicles departed the intersection.  If he has video (either dashcam or traffic cam) of the intersection at the time, I guess this is relatively easy (if time-consuming).  Without video, it's your word against the officer's.

To be honest, I've never heard of being ticketed for going out of turn at an intersection.  I've spoken with a few law enforcement officials here and re-read the legal statutes, and I don't think it's practiced here.  But New York has its own rules and enforcements, as well as its own procedures in traffic court.

Again, I'm no lawyer.  If you want to fight this ticket, investing in a lawyer is probably your best option.  

Good luck!

Mike

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Michael Mercadante

Expertise

Questions on traffic safety, safe performance and operation of a motor vehicle in traffic, about driving with special needs, learning/behavioral/developmental disabilities, understanding vehicle laws, understanding safety equipment on vehicles, defensive and precision driving techniques, driver education and instruction and driver exam preparation.

Experience

Owner and sole driving instructor for Modern Driver Institute. Eight years in traffic safety research on contracts for NHTSA, FMCSA, AAA, MDOT and PennDOT. More than 1,000 hours as a professional driving instructor. Licensed driving instructor in the state of PA. Certified Defensive Driving Instructor for the National Safety Council. Precision driving for Hollywood and independent films. Expertise in virtual-reality driving simulators and teaching students with developmental/intellectual disabilities, traumatic brain injuries and more.

Organizations
member, Teen Safe Driving Coalition; member, PA Safe Kids coalition; service provider, PA Bureau of Autism Services; service provider, PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Publications
Perkasie News-Herald WonkaVision Magazine eHow.com MadeMan.com Philadelphia Zoo website Driver Training Services website Yahoo! Associated Content

Education/Credentials
Licensed driving instructor, PA Department of Education Certified Defensive Driving Instructor, National Safety Council B.A. in American History (cum laude), Temple University (earned 2007) M.S. in Psychology, specialization in Educational Psychology (2015) Ph.D in Psychology, specialization in Educational Psychology (expected 2019)

Awards and Honors
Scientific Paper of the Year (2003), Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine.

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