CRS 42-4-702 is the Colorado statute that makes it a traffic violation for a driver to turn left within an intersection while failing to yield the right-of-way to any vehicle coming from the opposite direction. An offense under this law is a class A traffic infraction.
Section 42-4-702 states that:
“the driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction which is within the intersection or so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard.”
Examples of unlawful acts
- gunning a motor vehicle through an intersection to avoid an oncoming driver.
- turning left into a driveway without yielding to an approaching truck.
- making a left turn into a Denver alley without looking to see if there were oncoming vehicles.
A driver can challenge a failure to yield charge with a legal defense. Common defenses include a driver showing that:
- he/she sufficiently yielded,
- the driver was falsely accused, or the police officer was mistaken, and/or
- there was an emergency.
A violator will receive:
- a $70 fine, and
- three points assessed on his/her driver’s license.
Our Colorado criminal defense and personal injury lawyers will highlight the following in this article:
- 1. What is an offense under CRS 42-4-702?
- 2. Are there defenses to failure to yield charges?
- 3. What are the penalties?
- 4. Can violating this statute result in other charges?
- 5. Does a failure to yield affect a personal injury lawsuit?
- 6. Are there laws related to this statute?
1. What is an offense under CRS 42-4-702?
According to Colorado Revised Statutes 42-4-702, it is a traffic violation for a driver to:
- fail to yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic, and
- do so while waiting to turn left within an intersection or left into an alley, private road, or driveway.1
A driver sufficiently yields under this law if he/she can turn left without an oncoming car constituting an immediate hazard.2
2. Are there defenses to failure to yield charges?
There are a few legal strategies that traffic lawyers use when contesting these charges. Examples include a defendant showing that:
- he/she sufficiently yielded.
- he/she was falsely accused.
- there was an emergency
2.1 Sufficiently yielded
It is a valid defense under this statute for a motorist to say that he/she did in fact yield. Recall that a driver sufficiently yields when he/she can turn left without an oncoming car constituting an immediate hazard.
2.2 Falsely accused
It is always a defense for a driver to say that a police officer made a mistake in issuing a ticket, and thus, he/she was falsely accused. Perhaps, for example, an officer did not clearly see a vehicle turning and made the mistake that it did not yield.
An accused can raise the defense that an emergency arose that prevented his/her compliance with the law. Perhaps, for example, a driver had to suddenly turn without yielding to move for an emergency vehicle, or, to avoid a crash.
3. What are the penalties?
The failure to yield is charged as a class A traffic infraction.
The guilty driver is punished with:
- a $70 fine, and
- three points getting assessed on his/her driver’s license.3
Note that the Colorado DMV will suspend a person’s driver’s license if he/she gets too many points over a certain period of time.4
4. Can violating this statute result in other charges?
Violating this statute can produce other charges.
Police can charge/arrest a person provided that they have probable cause to believe he or she committed an offense.
Therefore, in the context of a failure to yield stop, police can arrest or charge a driver for any additional crime (for example, DUI) if they have probable cause that the driver committed one.
5. Does a failure to yield affect a personal injury lawsuit?
A violation of this statute can affect a personal injury lawsuit because it suggests that the guilty driver was negligent per se.5
The latter is a presumption that the driver was negligent in causing some injury or accident. If it goes unrebutted, then the driver will have to compensate any injured parties for the harm he/she caused.
6. Are there laws related to this statute?
There are three laws related to this statute. These are:
- driving through a safety zone – CRS 42-4-806,
- speeding – CRS 42-4-1101, and
- littering onto a highway – CRS 42-4-1406.
6.1 Driving through a safety zone – CRS 42-4-806
CRS 42-4-806 is the Colorado statute that makes it is a traffic offense for any motorist to drive through a safety zone. A “safety zone” is essentially a clearly marked area set aside for the use of pedestrians.
6.2 Speeding – CRS 42-4-1101
CRS 42-4-1101 is the Colorado law that prohibits speeding, or a person from driving faster than a state speed limit.
6.3 Littering onto a highway – CRS 42-4-1406
CRS 42-4-1406 is the Colorado traffic regulation that makes it an offense for a person to throw any object on a highway if it could harm a person, animal, or vehicle.
For additional help…
For additional guidance or to discuss your case with a Colorado traffic attorney, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group.
- CRS 42-4-702.
- See above.
- CRS 42-4-1701.
- See, for example, Colorado Department of Revenue website, “Point Suspensions.”
- See, for example, Thoen v. Pub. Serv. Co. (1944) 112 Colo. 126.