Ask LH: Should I Contest This Traffic Fine?

Dear Lifehacker, I received an infringement from the police for not stopping at a Give Way sign which I didn’t notice was there. However, I believe another involved driver was at fault. When I attempted to turn right, the other car wasn’t there. The only reason they did an emergency stop was because they failed to notice me on the road. The police said I failed to stop and gave me a ticket anyway. Do you think I have a chance to win the appeal? Thanks, Clement

Dear Clement,

I don’t fancy your chances on this one — which is a nice way of saying you don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell.

Let’s review the facts. By your own admission, you failed to notice the Give Way sign and subsequently drove straight through it. This forced another driver — who allegedly wasn’t paying attention — to brake hard. Your defense seems to center on whose actions caused the emergency stop.

Unfortunately for you, this fact is completely irrelevant. The infringement has nothing to do with who was responsible for the near collision or which car reached the intersection first. As the police pointed out, you were fined for failing to give way. That’s it. If the other driver had noticed you earlier and slowed down without braking, you still would have received the fine.

The only way this would be remotely winnable in court is if the sign was significantly obscured in some way. In the unlikely event that this was the case, be sure to take plenty of photographs to support your story along with some witnesses to back you up.

Otherwise, we strongly advise against taking this matter to court. Your case will almost certainly be tossed out, and you might even get slugged with additional court costs and an offender levy for wasting everyone’s time. Accept responsibility and pay the fine.


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