New York State’s traffic laws are designed to protect both motorists and pedestrians. One law that commonly results in traffic tickets is the requirement for drivers to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and at intersections.
However, those tickets are not always fair. If you’re facing a hefty fine, points on your license and a higher auto insurance premium because of allegations that you failed to yield to a pedestrian, it can pay to explore the possible defenses.
There was no right-of-way
One of the most common defenses is that the pedestrian did not have the right-of-way at the time. Generally speaking, pedestrians are supposed to use crosswalks or intersections where they’re available, so you may have a viable defense if the pedestrian in question stepped off the curb in the middle of the street and started to jaywalk to their destination.
The pedestrian’s behavior wasn’t predictable
Sometimes, pedestrians may behave erratically or unexpectedly, which can make it challenging for a driver to stop their vehicle in time. If a pedestrian suddenly darts into the roadway between two vehicles or steps off the curb without warning after you’ve already started to turn, you may have a valid defense for your inability to yield.
There was a pedestrian overpass or tunnel
Pedestrians don’t have an absolute right-of-way. When there’s a tunnel or overpass that’s been provided for their use at the intersection and they choose to use the road instead, pedestrians are expected to yield to vehicles.
There was someone directing traffic
Traffic control can be a big problem, especially if you venture into a city – but both pedestrians and drivers are expected to follow the signals given by police officers and construction workers when they’re directing traffic. If a pedestrian ignores the directions they’re given to stop and walks into your path after you’ve been motioned forward, it could be very difficult to yield safely.
Drivers do need to prioritize pedestrian safety and adhere to the laws regarding rights-of-way, but there are many situations where a driver may have valid defenses to a failure to yield charge. Understanding these defenses and seeking legal guidance can, therefore, potentially help you fight an unfair ticket successfully.