Legal Advice Columns
The following articles are reprints of Van O'Steen legal advice columns which appeared in The Arizona Republic and other newspapers across Arizona.
Arizona Traffic Law
It is irritating to see people violate traffic laws, especially because of the potential for injury. It suggests a serious disregard for the safety of others. Most of us are familiar with traffic laws, but here are a few that you may have forgotten.
Contrary to popular belief, pedestrians do not always have the right of way when crossing streets. Generally, a pedestrian’s right of way is limited to proper crossings within crosswalks. To be proper, a crossing at an intersection with traffic control signals means a pedestrian must obey the signals. Being within a crosswalk does not excuse a violation of the signal.
If you drive a car or motorcycle, you are required to know the rules of the road regarding the operation of motor vehicles. Because most of us become rusty between driver's license renewal exams, here is a refresher course on one important aspect of Arizona's driving laws, turns.
I am occasionally asked what happens when you are involved in an accident where the other driver is at fault, but you are driving with an expired driver’s license. Does the fact that you were driving without a valid license remove the responsibility of the driver who was at fault in the car accident?
In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in the sale of mopeds, motor scooters, all-terrain cycles, pedal bicycles with helper motors and similar small two- and three-wheel vehicles. Our need for fuel economy and our interest in recreation largely explain the popularity of the small motorized vehicles.
An uncontrolled intersection is one with no traffic lights, stop signs or yield signs. These are common in residential neighborhoods. It is apparent that many drivers either do not understand or do not respect the rule regarding right of way at these intersections.
Cars can be dangerous objects. When a few thousand pounds of metal is propelled down streets and highways at relatively high rates of speed, the potential for damage and injury is enormous. The Arizona Legislature recognized this fact when it enacted our mandatory auto insurance law.
There are some reasonably obscure traffic laws on the books. Most people learn about them only after they or others they know are cited for a violation.
Many drivers either do not know or simply do not respect one of our most important traffic safety laws. I see violations almost daily, You probably do also, if you drive through residential neighborhoods.
I remember as a young driver being told that it always was improper to pass another car on the right unless there were two marked lanes in the same direction. As far as I can tell, this never was the law in Arizona. It appears to be a popular long-standing myth regarding our traffic-control laws.
No driver needs to be told that driving too fast is a violation of the law. Citations for excessive speed are the most common traffic tickets issued by Arizona law enforcement officers.
It should be no surprise to anyone that drivers are required to exercise special care near school zones and school buses. Children often act unpredictably and without regard for their own safety. This can result in a serious injury. For this reason, Arizona traffic laws impose pose special duties on drivers when they are near school crossings and school buses that are stopped.
Imagine yourself in a position in which you probably have been on hundreds of occasions. You are driving your car, stopped at a stop sign, while waiting to make a right turn. The street you will turn onto has two lanes of traffic heading in the direction you wish to go.
Although a 16-year-old legally may obtain a driver’s license with the cooperation of parents or guardians, he or she is not yet an adult. This raises serious questions about the minor’s ability to be financially responsible for automobile accidents he or she causes.
If my experience as a driver is typical, many Arizona motorists do not understand the law regarding right of way at uncontrolled intersections. An uncontrolled intersection is one with no traffic lights, stop signs or yield signs. Most intersections in residential neighborhoods are uncontrolled.
Drivers react in various ways to fire engines, ambulances and other emergency vehicles with flashing lights and sirens on. Some drivers pull off the road. Others steer to the right side of the road and slow or stop. Some drivers stop and remain where they are in the roadway, while a few continue to drive as if conditions were normal. These drivers place others at increased risk of an injury accident.