This is an often cited California Vehicle Code Section (22107), and I see it all the time in Traffic Collision Reports. I would say it is up there with California Vehicle Code Section 22350 "driving too fast for traffic conditions." What makes Section 22107 so dangerous is that it can generally cause more injuries when you factor in freeway speeds. Think about it. If you are driving safely at highway speeds, and another car, unbeknownst to you, suddenly decides to unsafely merge in your lane of travel, the odds of you spinning out increase. The odds of you hitting other cars near you goes up. And, the odds of you also hitting the freeway dividing wall goes up. Especially if you could prepare for the unsafe merger, or even expect it.
The Result of Unsafely Merging
As the video shows, the car spins out of control at a high rate of speed. Bio-mechanically speaking, when cars spin out at high speeds, it also increases the chances of a roll over. All of these reasons can cause more injuries, thus making this unsafe choice very dangerous. The good news is that unsafe mergers are 100% preventable by making safe choices all the time. This is why it is so important to all ways check your mirrors and look over your shoulders (if necessary) to make sure you check your blind spots. Those are the areas around your vehicle in which your mirrors cannot pick up other vehicles.
Just like others on the roadway depend on you to make safe driving choices, you depend on others to do the same. I also think jurors dislike it when someone does an unsafe merger as compared to other types of collisions like rear-enders. Why? Namely because of the increase of chances of more than one person becoming injured as a result. It is up there with red light runners. For whatever reason, jurors look at how a vehicle collision occurred and compare it with other factors. This is why it is so important to get the facts of the collision in as evidence at a jury trial.
How Does the Defense Typically Respond?
Some defense lawyers try to convince a judge to not allow in facts of the collision by "stipulating to fault" on the eve of trial. However, this is really a deceptive legal maneuver by the defense lawyer as he or she really just wants the defendant to come across as repentent and not bring in the bad facts of how the collision caused harms and losses. Don't worry, a good injury trial lawyer will know how to handle such deceptive defense legal tactics.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, and have an injury case that involves an unsafe merger or violation of California Vehicle Code Section 22107, and you still have questions, you can certainly reach out to me!
Stay strong, Attorney Mark
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