Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, March 27, 2009

Turning Confused

I should hang out my shingle again for truck drivers. I could make a fortune defending truck drivers who were supposedly making an improper left turn who were ticketed by the Windsor police.

I wonder if I should ask OTA's David Bradley for a reference for all of those truck drivers who may get caught making a so-called illegal left turn at Dougall and E C Row. Should I buy an ad in Today's Trucking Magazine?

I think I found the legal loophole! English grammar to the rescue.

Let’s be fair. Truckers have to make instantaneous decisions when they read road signs. When you are driving one of these big rigs you just do not have the opportunity to make quick movements by trying to guess what a road sign says.

Moreover, from a conviction perspective, if there is any ambiguity in a sign such that there may be two explanations or meanings for what the sign says, a Court would have to quash any ticket that was issued. There could be no conviction.

Take a look at the road sign that was issued for northbound truckers to tell them that they cannot make a left hand turn from Dougall to get on to the Expressway.

However, is that what the sign really says? I don’t think so. It would have been so much easier just to say No Left Turns For Trucks at EC Row. Instead, the way I could read the sign is the following:

  •  No trucks on Dougall

  •  Trucks, make a left hand turn at the Expressway to get off Dougall NOW!

It is completely contrary to what the City intended! It forces drivers to make a left hand turn in my opinion.

Just pity the poor trucker now. The Trucker is now in the inside lane ready to get off of Dougall by going on to the Expressway. After all, the sign appears to say no trucks on Dougall. If you will recall, there is a sign further north at Tecumseh that has been there for years saying that no trucks are allowed on Ouellette at certain times.

As the trucker pulls into the left turn lane, he/she then sees this sign:

What is he/she to make of it? It does not say in big bold letters NO LEFT TURN. It just says get out of this lane because you are not supposed to be here.

Again, the trucker must make an instantaneous decision and it is even more difficult because the left turn lane is so short at this point. The trucker has two choices.

The first, which makes no sense and is very dangerous, is to turn back into the lane on the right immediately. That could cause a horrific accident if cars are going northbound in that lane at the same time or a backup while the trucker was waiting to enter the lane. The trucker would then continue north on Dougall and risk getting a ticket because he/she thought that he/she was not supposed to be going north on Dougall in the first place.

The second choice is to make the left turn because there is no sign that says no left turn. In effect, the trucker is being led to believe that the sign is telling the trucker to make a turn and to get out of this lane as soon as possible. That is the only logical explanation given the first sign.

This City is so bizarre. Nothing is easy here. We cannot even inform truckers properly what they must do.

One other matter. I hope that the Parks Department or whoever is responsible for the grass and tree planting on that stretch of Dougall takes a good look at that area next time there is a heavy storm. It would not appear that there is proper drainage because the water seems to run off quickly into the roadway causing huge puddles after a heavy rain storm like we had a week or so ago. That area also iced up quickly when the temperature dropped during the wintertime because of the water on the road.

Action needs to be taken immediately before there is a serious accident.