Traffic Tickets

Reasonable Vigilance: Why You Got a Ticket When You Weren’t at Fault!

By August 7, 2019February 17th, 2020No Comments

Imagine this: you’re carefully driving down the road at the posted speed limit. Hands at 10 and 2 with your seatbelt on and phone tucked away. As you look over at your child in the back seat, a vehicle swerves into your lane and crashes into you. Next thing you know, you’re signing a ticket for not exercising “reasonable vigilance” in violation of New Orleans traffic laws.

Many citizens are unaware of what exactly this term means, and are often even more perplexed when they receive hefty fines for what is often a very minor infraction. This article will discuss what is meant by “reasonable vigilance” and how you can avoid the tickets that come with failure to exercise such care.

What is Reasonable Vigilance?

Most of the time it’s rational to assume that if you have taken reasonable steps to avoid being involved in an automobile accident, you won’t be punished if you do find yourself in such an unfortunate situation. Accidents happen and they’re usually not you’re fault, right? However, in the City of New Orleans you may still be fined even though you were driving in a cautious and prudent manner.

Under section 115-400 of the New Orleans Code of Ordinances, “The operator of any vehicle in this city shall maintain a reasonable vigilance at all times while driving, sufficient to avoid collision with another vehicle, pedestrian, or other private or public property.”

This means that drivers in New Orleans must be extra careful when driving within city limits. If drivers take their eye off the road for a second, or fail to look twice for oncoming traffic, they may be subject to a fine under section 115-400.


How Can I Avoid Being Fined for Lack of Reasonable Vigilance?

As mentioned above, the best way to avoid fine or punishment for failure to exercise reasonable vigilance is to be extra cautious on the roads. Unfortunately, this ordinance can be subjective in nature, and therefore it may be hard to argue that you in fact took every necessary step to avoid an accident. This is where a qualified attorney can help you if you are issued a citation under section 115-400.

Experienced attorney’s in the field of traffic law in New Orleans know how to investigate and what to look for when arguing that a client has exercised reasonable vigilance on the road.

Another way you can exercise reasonable vigilance is to take certain steps you may not think are necessary when driving. A case out of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana illustrates this point nicely.

In that case, the defendant was merging onto a street from I-10. Although the defendant was cautious and looked both ways before entering, and his vehicle struck the plaintiffs vehicle on the rear passenger side.

The federal judge found for the plaintiff and added that “the fact that [the defendant] looked both ways before entering the intersection and did not see [the plaintiffs] car does not absolve him of liability . . .”

Another important point in that case was that because there were no eyewitnesses, and the defendant failed to present any evidence to support his case, he could not win.

This underscores the importance of finding an experienced and qualified attorney in this area who knows the law and how to properly investigate your case. Although the “reasonable vigilance” ordinance isn’t always objective, the right attorney can help ensure you are not unfairly punished.


Hire Crescent City Law to Represent you when you receive a ticket for Reasonable Vigilance

If you have a ticket for reasonable vigilance, contact Crescent City Law for a free case evaluation.  Our attorneys can help you avoid the consequence of an accident ticket on your driving record and help you get the money you deserve your personal injuries after a car wreck

Click here to download the free guide

“What to do if you got a traffic ticket”