My little sister was involved in a three vehicle accident the other day. She feared she was going to receive a citation for rear ending the car in front of her. I had her tell me the story while we were eating Mexican food in Greenville.
Driving her pickup truck, a large Ford 25 she stopped behind a car at a red light. She was sitting there when another truck rear ended her and sent her into the rear of the car in front of her. Apparently someone had told her she was too close the other car and would be cited for Assured Clear Distance (ACD).
First off I asked her if she was moving prior to being struck in the rear. She said she was not, as she was just sitting there. I then explained to her that she was fine and would not receive a citation or be responsible for the damage to either of the other two vehicles. I explained to her the ACD law.
The law in Ohio, states that no person shall operate a vehicle at a speed unable to stop in the Assured Clear Distance Ahead. Since she was not moving at any speed, she was not speeding. Yes, that is what I said; the ACD law is actually a speeding violation and is in the same paragraph of the Ohio Revised Code of Ordinances. The section that covers this violation is 4511.21 Speeding/Assured Clear Distance.
I told an inmate I would be writing my article for the newspaper dealing with a three or more vehicle accident where the first violation was by a vehicle rear ending another vehicle. He also thought any vehicle rear ending another vehicle no matter what caused it would be charged. I assured him that was not the case and that only the vehicle who first struck another vehicle would be charged with the ACD.
The inmate’s theory was that the rear ended vehicle should have had their foot on the brakes. I informed him that no law in Ohio requires a person to have their foot on the brake. Although it would be a good idea to do so to prevent you from rolling into the car in front of you. If you are rear ended by a vehicle going 35 M.P.H., you are probably going to be sent into the car in front of you no matter what.
When I was a kid my Dad and I were sitting on Neff Road at IR 75 in Northridge, about two blocks from our house. We were on a grade, waiting for the red light and a box truck in front of us began to go but was not real experienced with a standard transmission and began rolling backwards, striking my father’s car in the front end, kind of like a backward ACD.
There was no damage to our car so my father did not call the OSP. Had the police investigated, I would surmise the truck’s operator would have been cited for Failing to Control a Motor Vehicle.
Following is the Ohio Revised Code section dealing with ACD.
4511.21 [Effective 6/30/2017] Speed limits - assured clear distance.
(A) No person shall operate a motor vehicle, trackless trolley, or streetcar at a speed greater or less than is reasonable or proper, having due regard to the traffic, surface, and width of the street or highway and any other conditions, and no person shall drive any motor vehicle, trackless trolley, or streetcar in and upon any street or highway at a greater speed than will permit the person to bring it to a stop within the assured clear distance ahead.