What is the name of your state? Florida
This is the scenario: A high school parking lot in Central Florida which exits onto a street that runs in front of the high school. There are two lanes exiting the parking lot but the left lane is blocked by a gate that is closed when school lets out so for all intents and purposes there is a single lane exiting the parking lot. At the end of the gate that blocks the left lane is a traffic control device that says "NO LEFT TURNS". On the right side of the parking lot exit is a STOP sign under which is mounted a secondary sign that says “RIGHT TURN ONLY” and a third sign that gives hours of enforcement. On the opposite side of the street, approximately 27 feet to the right (by my measurements) is a side street that intersects the road in front of the high school. The exit of the parking lot and the side street are not contiguous but rather parallel and offset by about 27 ft.
My 16-year-old daughter was ticketed for “failure to comply with a traffic control device” when she left the school parking lot and made a right turn (as required by law) followed by an almost immediate left turn onto the side street. My question is this: Is there a minimal distance one must travel after making the obligatory right turn before making a legal left turn (there is no prohibition against turning onto the side street).
Needless to say, I am very upset with this whole situation and the possible financial implications (loss of safe drivers discount from insurance company which could amount to thousands of dollars over the next several years). I truly believe that she complied with the law and intend to fight this in traffic court.
There are a couple of other issues in our favor, which I intend to bring up at trial. First is that there are two different traffic control devices that do not necessarily mean the same thing ("NO LEFT TURNS" and "RIGHT TURN ONLY") mounted at the same intersection but on opposite sides - one to the left and one to the right. In fact, my daughter initially only saw only the “NO LEFT TURNS” sign and completely missed the "RIGHT TURN ONLY" sign. Second, pursuant to statute 316.0745, Florida has adopted the MUTCD as a “uniform system of traffic control devices for use on the streets and highways of the state.” The MUTCD is very specific regarding position of traffic control devices and section 2A.18 states, “the clearance to the bottom of the sign shall be at least 2.1 m (7 ft)” and “The height to the bottom of a secondary sign mounted below another sign may be 0.3 m (1 ft) less than the height specified above.” So the height to the bottom of the “RIGHT TURN ONLY” sign should be 6 ft above the near surface of the pavement but was only 3’11” when we measured it. Furthermore, Florida statute 316.074 (3), the statute my daughter allegedly broke, states, “No provision of this chapter for which official traffic control devices are required shall be enforced against an alleged violator if at the time and place of the alleged violation an official device is not in proper position...” What does “not in proper position” mean? I would think it means, ‘not where the MUTCD says it should be’. Am I correct? I believe she should prevail solely on the merits of her case (we have ample photos documenting the intersection and proving our points) but is this ‘technicality’ enough for a dismissal?