Case Law: Traffic Light Intersections

Robot controlled intersections

The first in our new Series of Case Studies setting out the different scenarios in Motor Vehicle Accidents backed by Case Law…

Case Study:

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Y approaches the intersection, the traffic light changes to green in his favour, he enters the intersection; while X drove over the red traffic light and collided against the side of Y.

 

Legal principles:

  1. Y enters the intersection as the traffic light changes to green must make provision for a possible driver X that is still crossing the intersection and that can cross before Y. After that, Y can however assume or accept that X approaching the red light will not enter the intersection.
  2. Y that enters the intersection just after the traffic light change to green can assume or accept that X that approaching the red light will not enter the intersection before the light change to green. Y must stop at an orange light, but if he is too close to the stop line, he may proceed cautiously through the intersection.
  3. Therefore Y, who has the green light in his favour and has the right of way, however has a duty to keep a lookout for traffic in the intersection as he crosses the intersection. It is expected from Y to be awake and to pay attention to his immediate surroundings.
  4. If X alleges that the traffic lights were not functioning correctly, he must prove same, for example: other motorist that had the same complaint or other accidents where it was alleged that the robots were not functioning properly. (S vs Lund 1987(4) SA 548 (N))

Case Law:

Netherlands Insurance Company of South Africa Limited vs Brummer 1978 (4) 824 AD)

Facts:

An accident occurred at a robot intersection, which consists of two lanes in each direction. X was travelling from east to west in the left hand traffic lane and Y was travelling from north to south in the inside lane.

Both alleged that the other party was travelling against the red traffic light.

After listening to various testimonies, it was accepted that X entered the intersection against a red traffic light.

Y stated that as he entered the intersection, he did not look towards his left and therefore did not see X before the impact.

Held / Court Ruled Decsion:

Y entering the intersection while the traffic light is green for him must look out for traffic that is already in the intersection. Example: traffic that enters the intersection just before the traffic light changed. Y must not ignore vehicles of which he is aware and that are clearly driven on a negligent basis. It is expected from Y to be on the lookout for traffic that is entering the intersection against a red light from left or right.

In the matter of SA Eagle vs Harford 1992 (2) 786 (A) this principle was confirmed: that it could not be expected from a reasonable driver to be absolutely sure that it is safe to enter an intersection before he enters it.

In the matter at hand, there was no trustworthy evidence as to where Y’s vehicle was when the light changed to green for him. There were no grounds where it could be found that Y, at that stage, was on or just over the stop line of the intersection.

It was thus proved that Y was negligent.

The appeal succeeded, and absolution of the instance with costs was ordered.

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More Case Law to follow

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Merry everything and a Happy always !

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Why choose MVO Consultants

There are many Investigation companies to choose from, why should you therefor make use of our services.

Firstly we are the only company that offers a one stop service to the legal fraternity and Insurance companies. Should you wish to have a bill drafted or have an investigation done, we offer this and a wide range of other services as well, all under one roof.

We have been in the business for more than 20 years and in this period we have investigated more than 33 500 cases. 

We have offices in Cape Town, George, Bloemfontein and Mthatha.

MVO Consultants also offer the following add on services:

  • Opinions on merits and quantum
  • Acquisitions of SAPS docket, hospital/medical records and SASSA reports
  • Interpretations services
  • Tracings
  • Transportation of clients

What ever service you require, call us now!

For : Motor vehicle accident investigations, Loss Adjusting, Personal liability, Public liability, Defective workmanship, Product liability, Business Interruption, Theft, Fire, Opinions on Merits and Quantum, Loss of income investigations, Merit and Quantum investigations / Reconstruction, Common Law liability investigations, Acquisition of SAP dockets, hospital / medical records / reports, Interpretation services, Transportation of clients, Tracing.

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The use of drones in the Insurance Industry and Legal Fraternity

We at MVO Consultants can provide you with high quality aerial  photography through a range of drones that we make use of.

If you require a high quality image of an accident scene, we will be able to do so unlike Google Earth, where the quality and resolution is not that good.

We can also do mapping if you have clients that is developers and require a detailed map of a certain area.

In insurance claims, spread of fire and fire incidents it is a useful tool to map the area and assist with the claims assessment and risk monitoring.

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If you need high quality aerial images do contact us.

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Tyre wear

What are the regulations with regard to Tyre Wear?

Bulge:
When there is separtion of the sidewall you will start to see a bulge. This is a serious hazard and the tire should be replaced.
Camber Angle or Toe Angle:
This type of wear is typically caused by bad alignment. This can been seen in a visual inspection. Note that this type of wear is sometimes overlooked when it is located on the inside of the tire.
Chopped:
This type of wear is a chopped pattern. It is usually on the outer edge of the tire. It is typically caused by a lack of tire rotation.
Chunk:
This type of wear can be found on a visual inspection where a chunk of the tire is missing.
Cup:
This type of wear can be found on a visual inspection where you will notice a cup type depression. You will also be able to locate this type of wear by running your hand across the tire.
Tear:
This type of wear could be caused by many different conditions. It can be found by a visual inspection. This type of tire damage typically will expose the tire casing causing greater vulnerability and should be replaced.
Feathered Toe Angle:
This type of tire wear is typically caused by misalignment and can easily be felt by running your hand along the tread.
Worn Outer Edges:
This type of tire wear can be found on a visual inspection where the outer edges of the tire are worn smoothly. This is typically caused by low air pressure.
Worn Center Tread:
This type of tire wear can be found on a visual inspection where the tire tread is worn gradually from the outer edge to the inner tire tread. This is typically caused by over inflated tires and/or improperly sized rims/tires.
Deep Scallop:
Deep Scalloped wear is typically caused by diminishing struts/shocks. Another cause may be tires that are not properly balanced (typically the pattern is tighter).
Tread Separation:
This type of wear is when the tread itself starts to separate. This typically cuases the vehicle to “wobble” at lower speeds and a pull to one side. It has the potential to become a hazard and should be replaced.
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Distracted driving

Research has shown that all drivers engage in some form of distracting activity while driving. This study was done by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center. Although a lot of emphasis are put on the dangers of cell phone use while driving there are many other distractions that are more prevalent and even more dangerous.

Researchers use dash board cameras to see how drivers were behaving behind their wheels. In just three hours all of the drivers was distracted at some point or another. 90 % by something outside the car and 100% by something inside the car.

The following chart indicate the percentage of drivers who engaged in the most common distracting activities while driving:

% of subjects                % of total time

Reaching, leaning, etc                                                             97.1                                     3.8

Adjusting music/audio controls                                           91.4                                      1.4

Eating, drinking, etc                                                                71.4                                      4.6

Conversing                                                                                 77.1                                     15.3

Grooming                                                                                   45.7                                      0.3

Passenger                                                                                   44.4                                      0.9

Reading or writing                                                                   40.0                                     0.7

Using cellphone                                                                        30.0                                    1.3

Smoking                                                                                      7.1                                        1.6

More or less 25% of all accidents are caused by distractions.

Drivers are up to 16.1% engaged in some form of distracting activity while driving. (1)

(1) Stephanie Faul, AAA Foundation For Traffic Safety’s Distracted Driving Phase II Report.

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