Unsafe left turns are a frequent cause of motor vehicle accidents, they occur regularly and can result in significant injuries for those involved. Left-turn accidents are the subject of lots of public discussions. Making a left turn across oncoming traffic can be dangerous at times, though it is not true that any time a left turn is made across oncoming traffic that the driver making the turn will be found to be at fault for the accident.
What Is The Law Around Left Turns?
Under Alberta’s Rules of the Road Regulation, a driver has an obligation not to make a left turn at an intersection unless it can be completed in safety. Hence where a driver faces a solid green light and attempts to make a left turn across oncoming traffic and ends up colliding with another vehicle, the driver will have violated the law. Alberta’s Traffic Safety Act makes clear, that where such occurs there is a presumption of liability against the person who violated the act. This means the person in violation has an obligation to show that any loss arising from said activity did not arise solely or entirely through their actions. Therefore, in the typical case, the left-turning driver in such a situation would be found to be at fault. The courts have made clear this is the case even where the driver making the left turns view has been obstructed by adjacent traffic such that they think the turn can be made in safety.
Mitigating Factors of Left-Turn Accidents
For a left-turning driver in such an instance not to be found liable they could show that the other driver was or ought to have been aware of the impending accident and should have been able to take evasive action against the same. Alternatively, they might show that the other driver was in violation of traffic law and that said violation contributed to the collision. For instance, it might be demonstrated that the other driver was speeding at the time of the accident, or that the light had turned yellow while they were in the intersection and that the other driver could’ve safely stopped prior to entering the intersection, or perhaps the light turned red while the turning driver was in the intersection and the other driver ran the red light.
Where either of these conditions has been met, liability may not fall entirely on the driver making the left turn. In such cases, a split of liability or in exceptional cases no liability at all may fall on the left-turning driver.
Have You Been In A Left-Turn Accident? James H. Brown Can Help!
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