Illegal Left Turns
Each year in the state of Georgia, a number of motor vehicle collisions occur because one driver attempts a left turn across the oncoming traffic lane without yielding to oncoming vehicles. In many cases, drivers who make improper left-hand turns are likely to face a variety of penalties due to this type of violation of Georgia driving case. In many cases, accidents due to an illegal left turn also involve fatalities or serious injuries because hard collisions often occur on the driver’s side of the vehicle. If you are involved in a traffic accident due to an illegal left turn, one of the best steps to take is to retain the services of a seasoned Georgia who knows how to make sure that a case resolves in the best possible manner.
The History of Georgia Law Regarding Left Turns
Laws in the state of Georgia are designed to promote safety among motor vehicle operators. The main reason why Georgia laws exist limiting the situations in which making a left turn is permitted is so motor vehicle operators can make left turns while limiting the possibility of being involved in a motor vehicle accident.
Motorists should note that for many years law in the state of Georgia was particularly vague to such a degree that many motor vehicle operators could not easily decipher the purpose of the law. The Georgia Supreme Court Justices even unanimously agreed that the statute’s language was vague and open to interpretation that differed from its intent and was too vague to be enforced against a motor vehicle operator who made a left turn into a multi-lane roadway lacking traffic control devices.
Applicable Laws about Left Turns in the State of Georgia
For the purposes of Georgia law, an “extreme left-hand lane” refers to a lane that is furthest to the left but still lawfully available to traffic moving in the same direction as a vehicle. In areas of Georgia where there are highways with multiple lanes, the extreme left-hand lane includes the lane that is to the direct right of the left-most lane.
Georgia law contains several provisions that prohibit left turns being made in certain ways. These laws include the following elements:
- On Highways. Motor vehicle drivers should turn left in the extreme left-hand lane that is lawfully available to traffic moving in the same direction as the motorist’s vehicle.
- On Highways Involving Multiple Left Turn Lanes. Motor vehicle operators who turn left to exit a highway should do so in the left-most lane. If a motor vehicle operator is in the second most left-hand lane, the driver’s vehicle should exit the intersection in the second most left-hand lane. Motor vehicle drivers are not permitted to change lanes once the driver has begun to make a left hand turn to exit the highway.
The Georgia Driver’s License Manual includes instructions that when making a left turn at an intersection, the driver should yield the right of way to all traffic headed in the opposite direction then proceed to make a left turn when it is safe to do so.
Cars making left-hand turns pose a significant threat to motorists on the road and left turn related collisions cause over forty percent of all motorcycle-related accidents. If motor vehicle operators do not yield to vehicles that are approaching from the opposite direction there is a significant risk that a collision between motor vehicles could occur.
When there are signs or traffic control devices that prohibit left turns, motor vehicle drivers are also considered to have made illegal left turns if the drivers violate these warnings.
The Dangers Involved in Left Turns
Left-hand turns frequently involve a combination of dangerous elements including the following:
- Adverse weather conditions.
- Blind spots of a truck.
- Distracted driving.
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Road or highway hazards.
- Texting on one’s cell phone or any other type of distracted driving.
- Unprotected left turns.
- Unsafe lane changes.
The Consequences of Illegal Left Turns
The accidents involved with illegal left turns are frequently catastrophic in nature and can include broken bones, complex fractures, spinal cord damages, and traumatic brain injuries. Illegal left turns also frequently provide law enforcement with reasonable suspicion that is required in order to stop an individual’s motor vehicle which can result in an individual being charged with an even more serious offense. Illegal left turns also have the potential to result in community service, license suspension, or fines.
Raising Successful Defenses to Illegal Left Turns
There are several available defenses that individuals can successfully raise in response to illegal left turn citations.
One of these defenses involves presenting evidence that the turn an individual made was the most practicable thing to do under the circumstances. Some elements that might have influenced a motor vehicle driver’s decision includes vehicles that are parked on a curb and other types of roadside obstructions including construction.
In the case of a left turn citations at an intersection, a potential defense is arguing that an individual was not provided with proper notice of the prohibited left turn. If reasonable notice was not provided that a left turn was prohibited in a certain then a judge is likely to dismiss an individual’s case.
For individuals in the state of Georgia who desire to raise a strong defense in response to an illegal left turn, it is often a wise idea to retain the services of a knowledgeable attorney.
Contact a Seasoned Atlanta Traffic Ticket Attorney
If you or a loved one has been charged with any type of traffic offense including an illegal left turn in the state of Georgia, it is an extremely wise idea to retain the services of a knowledgeable attorney. At Yeargan, Barber & Kert, our legal counsel is particularly experienced in helping individuals respond to these types of cases. Do not hesitate to contact our law firm so that you can make sure that your case resolves in the best possible manner.