Arizona Traffic Offense Attorney says – Beware The Left Turn!


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Arizona Traffic Offense Attorney says – Beware The Left Turn!

As a traffic offense attorney in Mesa AZ, historically more people are involved in motor vehicle accidents when they are turning left than when they are turning right. This is because people turning right are not invading the space of on-coming traffic.

Yet, the question remains: What if the on-coming vehicle was speeding or ran a red light? Is the driver turning left still required to yield the right-of-way? In most states, a driver is only entitled to the right of way if they are obeying the law. So, for example, in Utah, if an on-coming car runs a red light, or is speeding, they have lost the right-of-way. Yet, a handful of states (including Arizona) take a different approach.

The plain language of A.R.S. 28-772 imposes an absolute duty to not turn left in front of on-coming traffic unless such movement can be accomplished in a safe manner. The driver turning left “shall” yield. There are no exceptions. There is not a single defense based on the behavior of other drivers. "One making a left turn must do so only when it is safe to do so". Op. Atty. Gen No. 58-82. The Arizona appellate courts have never allowed a driver turning left to escape their statutory duty of care based on what the on-coming driver was doing. See, Smith v. Johnson, 183 Ariz. 38, 43, 899 P.2d 199, 204 (App. 1995).

In simple terms, then, according to Arizona’s traffic code, when an accident has occurred, and one vehicle was turning left in front of an on-coming vehicle, the vehicle turning left caused the accident. There is no other cause.

So, the next time you are waiting to turn left, do not assume the on-coming driver will stop for his red light. Most cops I know love to add insult to injury. A motor vehicle accident can ruin your day. A ticket for failure to yield when the other guy ran the red light will make you cantankerous beyond compare. You need to call Brian Strong at (480) 833-2341, an experienced Arizona traffic offense attorney, he can help!

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