Two days following the car accident on the San Bernardino (10) Freeway in Baldwin Park, the woman who tragically lost her life was identified. Sandy Rocha was just 36 years old when she was killed in a rear-end car accident around 4:15 a.m. Sunday, according to California Highway Patrol. Further investigation uncovered that Rocha was driving the 2011 Hyundai at an unsafe speed when she rear-ended the 2013 Freightliner. She was unfortunately pronounced dead at the scene, but the Freightliner driver did not suffer any injuries.
Sadly, accidents like this happen very often in Los Angeles. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nationwide, over 40% of all traffic collisions are rear-ended collisions.
However, those rear-ended in Los Angeles are usually more favored by California law than those who caused this type of accident by crashing into a vehicle in front of them. In this sense, California Vehicle Code plays a significant part in every rear-end accident claim in Los Angeles.
What Are California Vehicle Code sections 21703 and 22350?
V.C. section 21703
This vehicle code section states that every driver in California has an obligation to maintain a safe distance between their vehicle and the vehicle in front of them. However, there are no specifics on how much distance is perceived as ”safe”. Instead, the code leaves it to the driver’s standards to determine a ”reasonable and prudent” distance. Because of this oversight, there have been cases when police officers applied section 21703 even when the driver was keeping more than enough distance (several car lengths).
V.C. section 22350
The 22350 is one of the most applied vehicle codes, and it relates to ”speeding”. Most accidents in California, especially rear-end car accidents, happen because drivers choose to drive over the speed limit. The faster your car is moving, the more time and distance you need to come to a complete stop.
Rear-end Collision Caused by an Emergency
In some instances, the driver in the front is forced to suddenly stop their vehicle, leading to a rear-end accident. Maybe a child ran across the street to chase after a ball, or an obstacle suddenly appeared on the road. Whatever the scenario, the responsibility falls to the driver behind the vehicle, who was forced to stop.
If the driver in the back drives at a safe speed and safe distance, adhering to the California Vehicle Codes above, a car accident can be prevented. The obligation of driving safely increases with bad weather and low visibility. Whatever caused a vehicle to stop suddenly, the law will usually penalize the driver behind it who was driving too closely or was moving above the speed limit.
Rear-end Collisions Caused by Tailgating
Tailgating is driving too closely to the vehicle in front of you, and in California, it is actually illegal by the California Vehicle Code section 21703. Those drivers who are following another vehicle too closely cannot stop their vehicle in time to prevent an accident if the vehicle ahead makes stops abruptly.
If a vehicle is traveling 35 mph in the perfect dry-road conditions, it would need around 135 feet to stop completely.
However, if the speed increases to 55 mph, they would need 265 feet to come to a complete stop. The distance required to come to a full stop increases in wet weather conditions. This is just simple physics, but there is also a delay in drivers’ reaction time to consider. It takes around 2 seconds for most drivers to notice that the car in the front has stopped or is slowing down.
- 23% of men sports cars drivers admit to tailgating, and 18% of SUV men drivers admit to tailgating.
- 20% of women sports cars drivers admit to tailgating, but over 25% of SUV women drivers admit to tailgating.
- 19% of all young drivers admitted they have a habit of tailgating. On the other hand, only 15% of middle-aged drivers admitted the same and 6% of all senior drivers.
Rear-End Accident Claim Details
Even if you were rear-ended, that doesn’t mean you are automatically not responsible for the accident. You can be sure that any rear-end car accident in Los Angeles will be thoroughly investigated in order to determine which driver was liable for the accident. In some cases, the driver who was rear-ended will be the at-fault driver.
Because determining liability in car accidents is imperative in Los Angeles, it is very important to ensure all your rights and interests are protected, and you are not being blamed for an accident you did not cause. You’ll need to contact a car accident attorney in Los Angeles who understands the law and can make strong arguments on your behalf.
A car accident attorney will not only help you prove you are not liable for the accident, but they will also help you seek compensation for any injuries you’ve sustained in your rear-end accidents. Furthermore, they can help you ensure your claim is filed on time according to the California Statute of Limitations.