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Driver ran stop sign but wasn’t at fault. Here’s why …

Published August 5, 2013
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The other day, I was nearly hit by another driver.  Ironically, if that had happened, it would actually have been the fault of a third driver – who wasn’t even in his vehicle at the time.

Confused? Let me explain.  I was approaching northbound up the stem of a T-intersection and had halted at the three-way stop.  Just as I was about to proceed, another driver travelling westbound ran through the intersection without stopping.

I hesitated momentarily because the other driver was approaching the intersection rather quickly – and that extra split-second I took to verify things saved the day.

How could a crash not be that driver’s fault if he ran a stop sign?

A large construction truck was illegally parked on the north side of the road right next to the stop sign, so in all fairness, the near-miss driver likely didn’t see the sign – and presumably wasn’t familiar enough with the area to know it was a three-way stop intersection.

If we had collided, the driver who ran the stop sign would be held at fault by insurers, but what about the truck driver?  That person also shares the blame for essentially setting a trap through negligence by blocking the stop sign, not to mention illegally parking within nine metres of an intersection and also parking with left wheels to curb on a two-way street, both of which are municipal parking violations.

In this situation, police would include the truck information (driver and vehicle) in a collision report.  Even if it wasn’t struck in the impact between other vehicles, the truck is considered “indirectly involved” because the driver’s actions led to the subsequent crash.

A vehicle doesn’t have to be struck to be considered involved/at-fault in a crash.

Another classic example of this is a driver who cuts off another motorist.  A crash between others may result, but the instigator often drives on untouched and, possibly, unaware of the mayhem he/she has left in their wake.

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