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Shivani Gite
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Shivani Gite is a personal finance and insurance writer with a degree in journalism and mass communication. She is passionate about making insurance topics easy to understand for people and helping them make better financial decisions. When not writing, you can find her reading a book or watching anime.
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Laura Longero
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Executive Editor
Laura is an award-winning editor with experience in content and communications covering auto insurance and personal finance. She has written for several media outlets, including the USA Today Network. She most recently worked in the public sector for the Nevada Department of Transportation.

Definitions differ by state for vehicular negligence. Vehicular negligence can be used to describe many different situations. The victim of vehicular negligence can be the operator or passenger of an automobile, truck, SUV, motorcycle, moped or bicycle. This is because when a collision occurs, there is normally one party that is negligent and at fault.

In some states, vehicular negligence may be when a driver is negligent and causes an accident or harm using a vehicle. This would include minor incidents like running a stop sign or something serious like driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

According to Louisiana driving law, vehicle negligent injury is when an injury is inflicted on someone by an operator of any motor vehicle, aircraft, watercraft or other means of conveyance when the offender is under the influence of alcohol or drugs with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more.

In New York, liability for negligence in the operation of a motor vehicle may include the following:

  1. Speeding: New York Vehicle and Traffic (VAT) Law 1180 requires that a driver proceeds at a reasonable speed under the conditions existing. VAT 1180(a) establishes 55 or 65 m.p.h. as the maximum speed limit.
  2. Driving too slowly: VAT 1181(a) provides that driving at such a slow speed as to impede normal traffic is prohibited, except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with the law. VAT 1181(b) provides that whenever a minimum speed limit has been established on a highway, a vehicle must not be driven at a speed below such limit, except when entering upon or exiting from the highway, when preparing to stop, or when necessary for safe operation. VAT law section 1120 provides that any vehicle proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic must drive in the extreme right lane or as close to the right curb as practicable, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle or when preparing to make a left turn at an intersection or into a private drive.
  3. Turning: VAT 1160 requires that all turns made by a vehicle at an intersection must be made from a position that is appropriate to the direction of the turn to be made. No turn may be made in any direction unless and until the turn can be made with reasonable safety. For vehicles intending to turn at an intersection, VAT 1160(a) provides that the approach for a right turn and the right turn are required to be made as close as possible to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway. VAT 1163 mandates that no driver can turn a vehicle to enter a private road or driveway before ascertaining that such movement can be made with reasonable safety and without giving an appropriate signal. The turn signal must be given continuously during no less than the last one hundred feet traveled by the vehicle before
  4. Starting and stopping: VAT 1162 states that a vehicle that is stopped, standing, or parked may not be moved unless and until such movement can be made with reasonable safety; and,
  5. Failing to signal: Failing to signal is negligence. Vat 1165 provides that signals may be given by hand or mechanically. VAT 1163(b) requires that a signal of intention to turn right or left when required must be given continuously during at least the last 100 feet traveled by the vehicle before turning.

There may be other more serious forms of negligence, but this gives you an idea of how making an improper turn, failing to signal, etc can be construed in some states such as New York as negligence by a driver. Negligence is in general defined as the failure to exercise the care that is expected of a reasonable person in similar circumstances so vehicular negligence can be doing such in a vehicle such as a car, truck or motorcycle.

To find out about your state’s definition of vehicular negligence and if it is an offense you can be charged with or just a way to find you at fault for an accident, contact your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.

— Michelle Megna contributed to this story.

Laura Longero

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Laura Longero

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Laura is an award-winning editor with experience in content and communications covering auto insurance and personal finance. She has written for several media outlets, including the USA Today Network. She most recently worked in the public sector for the Nevada Department of Transportation.

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Contributing Writer

Shivani Gite is a personal finance and insurance writer with a degree in journalism and mass communication. She is passionate about making insurance topics easy to understand for people and helping them make better financial decisions. When not writing, you can find her reading a book or watching anime.