Friday, December 18, 2009

Not everyone crashed

I received an email this week from an out-of-town dad . He was upset that his 20 year old daughter received a traffic ticket for following too close, after she rear-ended a car stopped in the left turn lane at an intersection, waiting to make a turn.

“She started to slide due to the icy street, not something [she] did wrong….I do not know or understand how the Officer can issue a summons if the street was icy…the accident was weather related…Could someone explain to me and my daughter how this is following to close?”

With a foot of snow dumped last week, there has certainly been an uptick in traffic crashes. Since school was closed for three days last week, things were not completely chaotic, but traffic picked up with the work week, and Monday (when this crash occurred) was indeed the peak day so far this winter, with 94 traffic crashes. Our year-round average is 24. Still, 94 would be nowhere near the peak day of the year (so far!), February 13th, when we investigated 148 crashes.

I understand that he supports his daughter, and feels bad that she both had a collision and received a ticket. I wonder what he would want to happen if he had been rear-ended by someone else. What I he also considers is this: several tens of thousands of people driving in the same conditions in Lincoln on Monday did not crash. They anticipated the road conditions, allowed more time, gave greater following distance, slowed more gradually, avoided the usual distractions, and all the other things folks do in order to be extra careful. Here’s my reply to dad:

“The law requires motorists to have their car under control at all times, and to maintain a safe following distance. This requires that motorists consider the roadway and weather conditions, and adjust their speed, following distance and vehicular movements accordingly. Anticipating the potential impact of snow, ice, water, wind, and other environmental factors on the operation of the vehicle is a crucial skill for any driver, and the very fact that your daughter rear-ended a car in front of her would indicate to me that she failed to adequately consider or anticipate the prevailing conditions. Tens of thousands of motorists navigated Lincoln's streets without collisions. When there is significant damage and evidence of a violation of the law, officers issue citations at accident scenes. Your daughter, however, is free to plead not guilty, and it would be the City's burden at trial to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she violated the law.”


Anonymous said...

This sounds like the typical "hover 'round" parent who wants to protect their baby at all costs from the consequences of the kids own decision making. She's inexperienced - so what?? I'm sure she learned something from this accident. To have daddy cry foul and bash the mean ol' police officer does nothing more than teach the kid to play the victim card and blame someone else for their mistakes. Seems to fit quite nicely in this era of no personal responsibility.

Anonymous said...

He just doesn't want his insurance rates to go up. I bet if it was a zero-points violation, he wouldn't be so objectionable. Is she eligible to have it wiped out (pun intended) in traffic school, or does she have too many recent violations?

Tom Casady said...

9:06 -

It's her first ticket; she's STOP class eligible.

Anonymous said...

Well, then his rates won't take a hit, if she completes the class. Let's hope she'll be more careful, become a better driver, and that her first ticket will be her last one ever.

Anonymous said...

"Daddy, I got a ticket!"

"Oh honey, I'll email the police chief and make it go away."

What horrible logic that a parent thinks this way. Someday she'll learn to take care of herself.

Anonymous said...

Poor weather conditions are not an excuse to run into other's vehicles with no consequences. As an officer, if I can respond to the accident without having one myself, then I expect other drivers to be able to as well. Furthermore, why is a parent writing a letter for a 20 year old adult? When I was 20, I was in the process of becoming a police officer and was completely independent of my parents-financially, emotionally and otherwise.
At some point you must grow up and accept responsibility for yourself.

Anonymous said...

Was she texting or talking on her cel phone at the time? It was interesting to see how many were that day/week. I hope she (and her dad) see this as a 'learning experience'.

Anonymous said...

I don't imagine that the "helpful dad" has much luck with Chief Lamken when he tries to get a ticket dropped back home either.

Anonymous said...

This post is late, but I can't help myself. This has got to be one of my pet peeves. Whenever a newspaper reports on accidents that occur when it's snowing, raining etc they almost always report that weather caused the accident! It drives me nuts, as you stated chief, many motorist navigated the same road that day without a problem. The bottom line is, slow down, drive defensively and use common sense and you'll more than likely be accident free even on the worse days. Whew! I feel better now.