Criminal Charges Against Caitlyn Jenner in Fatal Rear-End Crash?

Collision Was Avoidable: Prosecutors

The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office wants to file vehicular manslaughter charges against rear-end collisions account for almost one-fourth of all automobile accidents, resulting in approximately 2,000 deaths and 950,000 injuries.

Most rear-end collisions result from the negligence of the driver who strikes the car in front. Typically the driver is drunk, distracted, speeding or tailgating and cannot brake in time to avoid a vehicle that has slowed or stopped. In Jenner’s case, drunk driving has been ruled out, but photos taken by the paparazzi show the former Olympic gold medal winner and reality TV star was possibly speeding, distracted and following too closely. 

Weight of Vehicles and Stopping Time

A driver has a duty to maintain a safe distance from the car in front. A two-second rule applies to ideal conditions, when driving in a small car in good weather and light traffic and on a safe roadway. However, the onus is on the driver to adjust for any condition that can affect the ability to stop. 

An SUV is much heavier than a car and requires a longer distance to stop upon braking. The weight of a trailer and its load also extend the necessary braking time. To ensure safety while operating such a heavy vehicle, a driver is instructed to at least double the distance. Of course, these rules assume that the driver is paying attention and driving the appropriate speed limit. A speeding and distracted driver may not be able to stop no matter how far behind the other car she or he is. 

The L.A. County district attorney is expected to make a decision on Jenner’s charges next week. Regardless of whether criminal charges are filed against her, she is likely to be found liable in the civil lawsuits filed by Howe’s family and another person who was injured in the accident. 

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