Anyone who has driven across state lines knows that most traffic laws are similar throughout the country. Similar, but not identical. Some laws, like those governing right of way and yielding, can vary considerably from state to state.
Most drivers are safe and courteous enough to yield appropriately to others. But in heavy traffic such as rush hour, the same drivers can exchange safety for assertiveness, heightening the risk of accidents. Texas’s failure-to-yield laws are designed to curb overly aggressive driving and mitigate the risk of collisions.
Defining Failure to Yield in Texas
Like so much legislation, Texas’s failure-to-yield laws are an attempt to turn common sense into hard and fast rules. For example, Section 545.152 of the Texas Transportation Code requires that traffic turning left give way to opposing traffic going straight through. Other sections of the code address yielding the right of way:
- Section 010 requires all vehicles approaching an intersection to yield to traffic that poses an “immediate hazard” to the clear movement across the intersection: vehicles, in other words, that have already begun to go through.
- Section 545.101 describes the requirements for turning at intersections.
- Several sections require drivers to slow down when approaching intersections.
The Price You’ll Pay
Texas takes the right of way seriously: when a vehicle is involved in an accident after illegally entering an intersection by failing to yield, that fact alone is considered evidence of fault. Of course, drivers need not get into accidents to run afoul of failure-to-yield laws: police officers may issue tickets to any driver who fails appropriately to yield the right of way.
If no collision resulted from a driver’s failure to yield, the matter is usually settled with a ticket and a fine; depending on the specific nature of the infraction and the driver’s record, points may be assessed to their license; in any case, the driver’s insurance rates may increase.
When a collision does occur because of a failure to yield, the penalties depend on whether anyone in the other vehicle sustained bodily injury.
If the collision caused no bodily injury, failure to yield results in fines between $500 and $2,000. If it did cause bodily injury, the fines increase to between $1,000 and $4,000.
Help is Here
The more severe the incident, the likelier it is that the driver charged with failure to yield will benefit from the help of a lawyer experienced in defending clients charged with moving violations.
Accident attorneys know better than anyone that the simple act of yielding is hard to define, and that drivers can use good judgment and still face severe penalties for failing to yield. If you ever find yourself on the wrong end of a failure-to-yield charge, take heart: an accident attorney can help you convey your version of events in a way that makes a strong case for dismissing the charge and restoring your record.