When you are driving in Texas, you are required to obey the general rules of the road, including allowing other drivers ahead of you when it would be reasonable or appropriate to do so. However, sometimes you may get confused, or you may decide not to stop or yield, and an accident may happen. This kind of behavior is called failure to yield, and if someone is hurt by your failure, the City of Austin now requires that the matter be dealt with in court. This is a change made recently that may escape the average person, and if you do not know of the change and fail to appear in court, the consequences can be serious even if you plead ignorance.
Too Many Injuries and Fatalities
Historically, the City of Austin would allow anyone charged with failure to yield to pay the citation off online or at the Municipal Court, but that is no longer allowed if your failure to yield caused another person’s injuries. Those accidents are now going to be held to “higher minimum and maximum” financial penalties, with fees reaching up to $4,000 if the degree of injury is serious. These are not criminal charges – that may be another headache for drivers entirely – but these types of civil infractions can be quite costly in the long run.
The reason for the increased charges is because failure to yield has become more and more of a factor in fatal and serious injury crashes, with roughly 1 in 6 being affected last year. In 2016, Austin created its Vision Zero program in 2016, aiming for no traffic deaths within city limits, but so far numbers have not been lowering. Some of the reasons for this are out of the city’s control – for example, many accidents happen on I-35, which the City of Austin does not oversee.
Ticket, Not Crime
If you have been ticketed for failure to yield, it can be frightening, because the atmosphere for many (especially if you have never encountered any legal trouble before) can feel like one is being arrested. However, it is a civil infraction, and usually, those are payable outside court. However, Austin lawmakers decided to make the change for those accidents that cause death or injury, because of the high human cost involved – a negligent driver should be called to account more stringently than just paying a small fine.
It is, however, very worth noting that if a driver has been ticketed for failure to yield, it is considered presumptive evidence that they did not yield the right of way in that specific instance. If you are injured and decide to bring suit against the other driver, that ticket can be persuasive evidence of negligence, meaning that you would not have to painstakingly prove negligence step by step – you can merely point to the ticket’s existence for it to be established.
Contact A New Braunfels Auto Accident Lawyer
The City of Austin continues to try and improve traffic safety, but there will always be places to get better still. If you have been injured by someone else’s failure to yield, you need an attorney well versed in this area of law to make sure nothing gets missed. The skilled New Braunfels car accident lawyers at the Bettersworth Law Firm are ready and willing to try and make sure your interests are protected. Call us today at 888-392-0039 to schedule a free consultation.