First time user here... this looks like a great forum for people to share their experiences. Thanks in advance.
I'll try and explain my story best I can.
I've been a licensed driver in Ontario for over 25 years. This is my first major accident.
One dry, sunny morning I'm in a line up of cars heading southbound to turn right onto a westbound road.
The eastbound traffic is turning left on a turning light to go northbound on the road I'm on.
This makes the way for the line of cars I'm in free and clear to turn right.
As I am several cars behind this line of cars turning right, from a distance I'm scanning the traffic in the intersection; I'm scanning the eastbound cars turning left, and I'm also keeping an eye out for the westbound traffic that is waiting for their green light.
In my head I'm judging the speed at which the line of cars is turning right and I'm thinking "Awright, it looks like I have plenty of time to navigate this right turn without any on coming westbound traffic to impede me."
The line of cars turning right are turning, moving and flowing at a reasonable speed without much slow down and without stopping.
I feel I was a reasonable distance from the vehicle in front of me, about two vehicles worth of space. Just as me and the vehicle in front of me are approaching the turn, the eastbound traffic turning left that was making our right turn free and clear stops turning, and the last eastbound vehicle just begins to cross into the intersection to complete the cycle of cars turning north.
As me and the vehicle in front of me begin to enter the turn, as my eyes are scanning the intersection once again, and seeing the line of east bound vehicles stop, and there is probably a couple of seconds before the westbound vehicles get their green and start moving, I see the way is still free and clear and there's plenty of time to complete this turn.
As my eyes are not facing forward as I enter the right hand turn, but scanning the traffic to my left for oncoming westbound traffic, I rear end the vehicle in front of me. Probably at approximately 30 kms/hr.
My airbags deploy. I realize this vehicle abruptly stopped instead of going through on the turn. I think to myself "Why didn't they go through with the turn?? The way was free and clear for them!"
We get out, everyone's fine. I don't discuss the matter with the driver. I just exchange info.
The driver called the police over the phone, got a report number. We decided that since we're safe that we'd just submit a report at a police collision center. Their vehicle was drivable. I needed a tow.
I go submit a report explaining much like I did here. In hindsight, I vaguely recall the driver mentioning when they got out of their vehicle that they hesitated to move, but didn't explain why. I didn't mention that in the report. Kinda wish I did.
Next thing I know, I'm slapped with a careless driver ticket. The cop sounded like he wanted to charge me with anything else other than careless driving, but he couldn't. And pretty much encouraged me that I could go request a court date to fight it.
I've already requested a court date the next day. The clerk asked if I wanted to speak with a prosecutor for a first attendance to discuss the demerits.
"Isn't that what the court date is for?"
"Regardless of the court outcome, even if they drop the charge you'll still get the demerits."
Dumbfounded and not completely understanding the situation or her reasoning, I said "Yah sure, gimmie first attendance with a prosecutor." That's dated for near the end of July.
Not sure what to expect at first attendance. Was expecting to explain this story in court, possibly get the charges of careless driver dropped or reduced if I can defend myself with my story. If the other driver happens to show up, possibly put the thumbscrews to them in questioning and try and discredit their skills and confidence as a driver to shore up my story and defense.
Your thoughts and comments are appreciated.
You are responsible for the vehicles ahead of you. You will be at fault almost every single time. Even those instances that you wouldn't be, they are almost impossible to prove.
However, this isn't one of those instances. You keep talking about scanning the left lanes of traffic, not the signal. I'm going to guess there is no advance right turn signal for your lane, otherwise you'd just follow the light. All cars approaching a red signal must come to a complete stop, regardless if it is a right turn. You should assume the vehicle in front will stop because they are required to. I do understand where you're coming from though. Unfortunately, the blame falls on your shoulders.
I say this nearly every couple days here. Careless Driving is a nightmare. You do not want to be convicted of careless driving, period. If they offer you a reduced charge, it will almost certainly be a minor conviction. Consider taking it. If you got pulled over for 50+ kilometres over, driving with no insurance, driving drunk, fleeing the scene of an accident, etc... would you take a 10km over conviction speeding ticket instead? Because that's exactly the scenario you're looking at. Careless driving is the worst of the worst. You will pay a 100% surcharge for the next couple years, you might be kicked off your insurance, and you will then have to find a high risk provider.
As for some of the other points you brought up, no, you wont have demerit points until you're convicted. However, demerit points are the least of your worries. They are useless unless you plan on doing this couple more times in the next 2 years.
An early resolution meeting is just a chance for them to offer you a reduced charge. Do not get worked up over it. It's not a trial. You are not there to mount a defense. You can either accept their offer or proceed to a trial.
Thanks for your reply.
Yeah I don't know the terminology for the type of turn lane.... but I wasn't turning on a turn light... it was a turn lane where you pull into it... and yield to oncoming traffic before proceeding...
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