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AMI 902 Superior Right of Forward Vehicle

Arkansas Supreme Court Committee On Jury Instructions-Civil

Ark. Model Jury Instr., Civil AMI 902
Arkansas Model Jury Instructions-Civil
November 2021 Update
Arkansas Supreme Court Committee On Jury Instructions-Civil
Chapter 9. Rules of the Road
AMI 902 Superior Right of Forward Vehicle
When two vehicles are traveling in the same direction, the vehicle in front has the superior right to the use of the highway [for the purpose of “leaving it to enter an intersecting road” (or other appropriate language)], and the driver behind must use ordinary care to operate [his][her] vehicle in recognition of this superior right. This does not relieve the driver of the forward vehicle of the duty to use ordinary care and to obey the rules of the road.
NOTE ON USE
When common-law or statutory rules of the road are given along with AMI 902, it is recommended, for the jury’s better understanding of the charge as a whole, that AMI 902 immediately precede the other instructions on the subject.
The purpose for which the lead car has the superior right to the use of the road must be inserted within the brackets.
This instruction may be given along with Ark. Code Ann. §§ 27-51-306, 27-51-403 and 27-51-404, inserted in the format of AMI 903.
COMMENT
The first sentence of this instruction is based on the holdings in Acco Transp. Co. v. Smith, 207 Ark. 70, 178 S.W.2d 1011 (1944); Cohen v. Ramey, 201 Ark. 713, 147 S.W.2d 338 (1941); Ward v. Haralson, 196 Ark. 785, 120 S.W.2d 322 (1938), and Madison–Smith Cadillac Co. v. Lloyd, 184 Ark. 542, 43 S.W.2d 729 (1931).
The last sentence in this instruction is based on the holding in Hagan v. Knowles, 223 Ark. 590, 267 S.W.2d 514 (1954).
This instruction was cited with approval in Wasson v. Warren, 245 Ark. 719, 434 S.W.2d 51 (1968).
Although this instruction does not apply in every situation where one vehicle strikes another from behind, it was properly given in East Texas Motor Freight Lines, Inc. v. Freeman, 289 Ark. 539, 713 S.W.2d 456 (1986), where the forward vehicle stopped in dense smoke to avoid other vehicles.
The purpose for which the lead car acquires the superior right to use the road must be inserted within the brackets. Smith v. Alexander, 245 Ark. 567, 433 S.W.2d 157 (1968). When there is no specific purpose for a vehicle to obtain a superior right to use the highway, the giving of this instruction is improper. Harlan v. Curbo, 250 Ark. 610, 466 S.W.2d 459 (1971).
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