Many drivers believe a ticket or citation are almost a guarantee, if you bang into another car's rear bumper once they've come to a complete stop.
That wasn't the case for Bill Giannini, the Assistant Commissioner to the Tennessee Department of commerce and Insurance. Giannini didn't receive a ticket during a Dec. 22, 2012 fatal crash on I-40 in Fayette County and it's doubtful he will get one for his involvement in the fatal crash.
It's not a given but even most lawyers agree if you slam into a car in front you the officer investigating the crash will have something for you to take home.
"If you rear end a car you're going to get a ticket," said Caren Nichol, FOX13 News legal analyst.
It's not the case for Giannini. In mid-December 2012 the former Shelby County Election Commission Chairman caused a three-car collision on I-40 westbound when the Jeep he was driving slammed into a car that had stopped for an accident.
An 8-year-old boy in the car died and his mother and another relative had to be hospitalized. According to a spokesperson for the Tennessee Department of Public Safety, the trooper investigating the crash didn't ticket Giannini, a public official.
"It's rare and I am surprised that he didn't get a ticket," said David Gordon, lawyer. "But I have seen it happen before."
Because the former head of the Shelby County Republican Party was traveling outside the city limits, the trooper would have used a state law to decide if a citation was in order. The statute is called "due care"
Due Care Statute: http://content.foxtvmedia.com/whbq/TCA-55-8-136-Due-Care-Statute.pdf
Due Care says "every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care by operating the vehicle at a safe speed, by maintaining a safe lookout and by devoting full time and attention to operating the vehicle in order to be able to see and avoid colliding with any other vehicle."
That's important because according to the crash report. The trooper noted that Giannini said "he dropped his sunglasses, reached down to pick them up and when raised back up, saw that the car in front of him had stopped. He swerved but still impacted the rear end of vehicle 2."
Is reaching to pick up fallen sunglasses not devoting full time and attention as the law states? FOX13 News posed that question to the Tennessee Department of Public Safety and a spokesperson said they were not at liberty to comment.
"The police officer must have felt that the time that the situation was, the person couldn't have stopped given the sight line," Nichols said.
"I don't think it is that big of deal, Greg, because of the fact that he didn't get a ticket, is not going to help him when the family the 8-yea-rold asks him to be responsible for the 8-year-old's death," Gordon added.
Giannini could be charged with a ticket or citation at a later date but lawyers say that's doubtful.
Giannini's December crash toxicology report released
Giannini won't be charged in deadly December 2012 crash