What are the chances at trial to get a citation dismissed due to extenuating circumstances?
Question Details: My 17 year old daughter was driving to school during a major storm that blew through our area last month. It dumped almost 2" of rain in a single day. She was travelling about 35-40 mph in a 50 mph zone when she started to hydroplane. She spun around and slammed sideways into a tree totaling the car. No other vehicle was involved. She was banged up but ended up being OK. The state trooper who responded issued her a citation for failure to control vehicle speed on highway to avoid collision. A $130 fine and 3 points. In my investigation of the area of the accident, I discovered that 3 hours later into the storm, another vehicle went off the road in the same stretch of road on the opposite side. Also, the resident living at the location stated that there is at least 1 accident a year on that stretch. I have open a case with the state highway administration to have the road reevaluated for safety improvements citing all of the above information. In your experience, what are my chances at trial to get the citation dismissed due to the extenuating circumstances?
Essentially, there is no chance:
1) Even if another car went off the road shortly thereafter during or due to the same storm, that just shows that another was also going too fast for the conditions; it does not prove that your daughter was driving at an appropriate speed.
2) That there is an accident a year on that stretch is actually not a very high rate of accidents and does not show inherently unsafe conditions.
3) And if the road is unsafe in some way there--e.g. too narrow, too steep, bad drainage, sharp bends, etc.--that just indicates to control your vehicle's speed appropriately, drivers need to slow more. It does not justify driving faster than is appropriate.