This is the second installment by a reader of my blog who unfairly received a stop sign ticket last summer. You can review his initial post here where he describes how/why he got the ticket and his initial search to find a way to beat it. Today he details his use of the Federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Controls (MUTCD) to develop a strategy to win in court. At the end of this post I will provide a list of all of the blog posts that I have written which show ways to use this Manual to fight traffic tickets.
The Federal MUTCD
I first started with the specific strategies suggested by the blog and e-book. Unfortunately for me, one of the best of these did not apply: since the stop sign was on the entrance ramp of a highway, it fell under PennDOT’s jurisdiction, meaning there was no requirement for a specific ordinance authorizing the sign. So I decided to go through the MUTCD stop sign rules one by one to see what could apply to my situation.
I ended up zeroing in on two parts of the MUTCD that I felt were relevant to my case.
The first part, with the relevant MUTCD language below, I’ll call “stop sign versus yield sign.”
2B.09, third situation: “For a channelized turn lane that is separated from the adjacent travel lanes by an island, even if the adjacent lanes at the intersection are controlled by a highway traffic control signal or by a STOP sign.”
The second part, with the relevant MUTCD language below, I’ll call “stop sign in relation to crosswalk.”
2B.10: “Where there is a marked crosswalk at the intersection, the STOP sign should be installed in advance of the crosswalk line nearest to the approaching traffic.”
Now the blog and e-book make a distinction between MUTCD standards (black and white rules) and guidance (less binding suggestions). Both of the above parts of MUTCD relevant to my case were guidance. Even though you are on more solid footing defending yourself with standards, I felt there was nothing to lose by trying to use these two parts, even though they were guidance.
In particular, the “stop sign in relation to crosswalk” language seemed promising. Even thought it was guidance and not a rule, it was closer to black and white given the language (“should”) and the fact that being located in front versus behind is a pretty black and white issue.
Extending the Blog and E-Book’s Idea
The blog and e-book also inspired me to go back to the text of the actual law I was charged under. You can find the law you are alleged to have violated printed on your ticket, and in my case this was Title 75, Section 3323. Below is an excerpt of section (b), and I have emphasized the part that most applies to my case:
“… every driver of a vehicle approaching a stop sign shall stop at a clearly marked stop line or, if no stop line is present, before entering a crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if no crosswalk is present, then at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a clear view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering. If, after stopping at a crosswalk or clearly marked stop line, a driver does not have a clear view of approaching traffic, the driver shall after yielding the right-of-way to any pedestrian in the crosswalk slowly pull forward from the stopped position to a point where the driver has a clear view of approaching traffic …”
Now if you go back to the picture from earlier …
… you will see that my intersection was one with no stop line but with a crosswalk. That means, reading the law, that the driver must stop at the crosswalk, not next to the stop sign.
I was excited because I realized I could now use the law against the cop in my upcoming trial. I doubted that he knew the black and white requirements of the law, i.e. that a driver needed to stop at the crosswalk and not the stop sign. And this is the best type of defense — when you are showing how the cop didn’t follow the black and white requirements of the law.
Tomorrow: Ultimate Victory in Court.
My MUTCD Blog Posts
- A Short Stop Sign Cannot Be Enforced
- A Small Stop Sign Cannot Be Enforced.
- A Sure-Fire Way to Beat a Traffic Ticket
- A Ticket for Using the Shoulder to Turn Right? Not in TX (and possibly PA)
- Are Yellow Speed Limit Signs Legally Enforceable by Police?
- Beating a Traffic Ticket Using MUTCD – The Fog Line “Technicality”
- Can You Cross a Double Yellow Line to Pass a Slow-Moving Vehicle?
- Crossing a Solid White Line on a Highway – Is it Legal?
- Just How “Technical” are Traffic Law Technicalities?
- Lower Speed Limits Are Better … Right?
- Passing in a No Passing Zone – The One Exception
- Size DOES Matter … At Least When It Comes to Speed Limit Signs …
- Street Signs on Stop Sign Poles – Legal and Enforceable?
- The Easiest Way to Beat a Traffic Ticket – Use the Federal MUTCD
- The Local Ordinance – A Great Way to Beat a Traffic Ticket
- The Motor Vehicle Statute That Trumps Them All.
- The Problem with Stop Signs
- Ticket for a Nonconforming Traffic Sign/Signal?
- “Unfair” Speeding Tickets?
- Using the “MUTCD Technicality” to Beat a Traffic Ticket