Today’s blog deals with an offense that is something all of us have done, do, and will do frequently. If your state’s law on following another vehicle too closely is simialr to the one in Kansas, under KSA 8-1523, you can see the difficulty in proving a violation of this law.
As we have discussed in a prior blog relating to correct lane driving, another aspect is how close to another vehicle can you drive in your lane of travel? As we look into KSA 8-1523, the language states, “a driver shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.” What does this mean? It seems very subjective. What conditions are fine for following close and what speed is reasonable? As you can see, this leaves several arguments for the defense when a statute is left up to the discretion of the Courts.
For prosecutors, most would argue, at any trial, that the trained law enforcement officer would be the absolute best person to make this determination given they were in the field at the time and their training and experience tells them which distances are safe and which are dangerous. Other drivers on the road, however, might feel their training or experience would say something different.
As for policy, it seems easy to understand why a law would not want a person to follow too close. The purpose in today’s blog, however, was to point out that, very often, quite a few laws are written without any formal measurment or rule. A lot of times, legislators leave quite a bit of discretion with the Courts on how the law is applied.
Until next time, drive safely!