Left turn - failure to afford reasonable opportunity to avoid collision. How should I proceed?

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Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2018 9:45 am

Left turn - failure to afford reasonable opportunity to avoid collision. How should I proceed?

by: prfs on
Fri Nov 30, 2018 9:50 am

I was involved in a 2 vehicle collision in an intersection in Ontario. I was making a left turn onto a one lane street. I arrived to the intersection at a green light. It was not immediately safe for me to turn, so I waited. I then believe it is safe for me to turn. There was a car in the oncoming right lane (of the 3 lanes oncoming), but she was far enough for me to make the turn based on my assessment. She also had her right signal on. It was raining at the time, but I do not believe that played any part in this accident.

I start making the turn and I get nailed in the intersection on my right headlight. Both cars are totaled, no apparent injuries of much significance at the time. I ask her what happened and she says she turned her signal off, which I do not believe happened. I still do not understand how she would have hit me at the speed she was going when I started making the turn, so I figure she must have accelerated when she decided not to turn left anymore, or perhaps out of panic and attempting to hit the brake pedal instead, or maybe she was just distracted and not looking. I honestly don't know for sure.

The police arrive. I give them an account of what happened in around 10 seconds. They don't write anything down. I go wait in a car of someone who I called when the accident happened. 15 minutes later, (after presumably talking to the other driver and the lady who called the police that was a witness I guess, because she saw the two cars collide) the officer comes back to me and issues me a ticket for "left turn - failure to afford reasonable opportunity to avoid collision." My understanding is that this comes with an $85 fine and 2 or 3 demerit points.

I have no idea what was said between the witness, the driver, and the police when they met. I was freezing cold and in utter shock, but in hindsight, I wish I could have heard their account. I understand that the left turn means I am considered "at fault." Honestly I understand why I was found at fault, but realistically, it makes no sense to me how she both accelerated her car, and did not brake in time to avoid it, which she could have easily done. I know where she was on the road and I saw how fast she was going. Regardless, I know that's not gonna hold up in court and the left turn is technically avoidable.

The accident report lists me first. I know my insurance rates will already be going way up next year because of the claims and accident report.

I am wondering if I should try to negotiate down to a non-moving violation in my pre-trial hearing, or take this to court and try to get the ticket ripped up, hoping either the driver (who lives in the area) or the cop don't show up. I do not want my insurance going up any more as a result of a traffic conviction, which as far as I know, that would represent an additional hit. I already pay high rates being a 22 year old living in the Greater Toronto Area, and I would like to try to minimize the hit this incident will have on my insurance for next year and in the future. This is all going through insurance and they already know about all of this.

For whatever it's worth, there is one error on the ticket. I was never asked to provide my phone number by anybody, and the one on the ticket is supposed to be for an old home phone number I have not used or given out in many years, and it is also wrong by one digit, saying "908" (a New Jersey area code) instead of "905."

As far as getting disclosure, how does this help me and how do I do this?

Also, it's my understanding that at court, both the other driver and the officer have to show up. What do I do if one or both don't show? Am I still allowed to do a plea bargain on my court date, or once I decide to take it to court, that is not an option anymore. Can they try to charge me for a greater penalty?

What I'm really asking here is what way do I mitigate the hit I'm gonna take on insurance next year. I understand that due to the accident report and me making the left turn, I am already screwed in that regard and I accept that. However, I believe the conviction on this traffic charge will further hurt my insurance, and I am trying to either get this ticket reduced as much as possible, or best case scenario, thrown away.

Sorry for the length of this post, but I just wanted to make sure I did not leave anything out.

Any help or advice you can offer is appreciated, thank you.
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by: bend on
Sat Dec 01, 2018 12:13 pm

Onus is on the driver to turn when it is safe to do so, regardless of other drivers using turn signals. I think that confuses some drivers the most. You just have to assume the other driver wont turn.

If you're hoping this charge will somehow turn into a parking ticket, it wont. They can give you something relatable, probably with a smaller fine, but it's still going to be treated the same by your insurance company.

As for making a disclosure request, you can visit the city website and they'll have a sample request form you can use, or you can make your own based off that.

Your phone number, with no requirement to be on a ticket, is not something that is going to make this go away. For starters, if you didn't provide it, then they pulled it from somewhere. At that point, it's your responsibility to update it.

Realistically, cases like this usually hinge on whether or not the witness shows up. Assume the officer will be there, because they probably will.
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