Failure to Yield

December 21, 2005 at 11:33pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

I’m glad to hear that nobody was severely injured in Tuesday’s crash between a small bus and a car near Zeman Elementary. The accident occurred at 52nd and Spruce Streets. The bus was traveling north on 52nd Street, while the car was traveling west on Spruce.

The last paragraph of the print version of the story (not included in the online version) has me confused:

Police issued no citations Tuesday. Because the intersection is open it’s hard to determine who is at fault, [Lincoln Police Captain David] Beggs said.

On the contrary, it’s quite easy to determine who is at fault. Lincoln’s traffic rules require drivers to yield to traffic coming from their right, barring the presence of traffic signals or signs indicating otherwise.

Right of way is determined by the “right hand rule” at low volume intersections which do not have a stop or yield sign. In these situations drivers are to approach intersections with caution and yield the right of way to the driver on their right.

In this crash, then, the bus driver was clearly at fault. He failed to yield to a vehicle on his right at an intersection with no signs or signals. Where is the ambiguity?

The “yield to the right” rule, common throughout the United States, exists precisely to address this sort of situation. If it does not apply to this scenario—or worse, if it applies but is not enforced, as seems to be the case here—then what good is the rule?

Granted, the intersection of 52nd and Spruce can be a bit deceptive. 52nd Street north of La Salle Street “feels” like it should have the right of way. Drivers on 52nd Street tend to think they have the right of way because that part of the street is a major entrance and exit point from the neighborhood, and the street is wider and more open than many of the other residential streets in the neighborhood. But that faulty perception is no excuse when it leads to an accident. Assuming the Journal Star is reporting all of the facts of the incident, the car unambiguously had the right of way, and the bus driver is unambiguously at fault, by virtue of the “yield to the right” rule.

Captain Beggs seems to be incorrect. It is quite simple to determine fault in this case. The bus driver should be ticketed.

Reply to this post

The Comments

dessi December 28, 2005 at 2:34pm

the same happend to me .I don’t have any words!Guilty without any fault

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

The Blogs

Syndication icon