Patience may be a virtue, but impatience can be downright dangerous, especially when one is operating a motor vehicle. Whether here in Baltimore, out in Gaithersburg or over in Washington, D.C., traffic control signals and traffic laws exist for everyone’s safety. When one person goes outside the boundaries of the law — whether due to selfishness, ignorance or outright neglect — someone is bound to be harmed. It may not happen today or tomorrow, but it will eventually happen.
Whether one drives for a living — such being a commercial trucker, school bus driver or a limousine chauffeur — or one is just a private car owner, following and obeying traffic laws is essential to safe vehicle operation. By extension, keep one’s vehicle safe means keeping one’s own self safe as well as any passengers that you may have traveling with you.
Being Maryland personal injury lawyers and representing individuals who have been hurt as a result of another driver’s negligence, we can say unequivocally that that lack of patience or ignorance of traffic safety laws and rules of the road can get a person injured or killed just as easily as stepping off the top ledge of a 10-story building. One difference between falling from a tall building and being hit by another vehicle on the highway is that it’s a great deal more obvious what is going to happen should one step away from the relative safety of that rooftop.
Still, understanding why traffic laws exist is not essential to one’s safety, so long as everyone obeys those laws. This entire discussion comes following our reading of a news story coming out of Harford County not long ago. It reminded us that a lapse in concentration or self discipline can result in serious injuries for a driver or someone else in the area.
Based on news reports, the accident in question took place in the early morning hours on a Wednesday when an ’06 Chevy being driven by 47-year-old Robert Simmons was struck by a tractor-trailer along a stretch of Rte 22 at the intersection of Beards Hill Rd. in Aberdeen. The force of the collision apparently trapped the local man inside his sedan until fire fighters and other emergency response personnel could arrive to free him.
Unfortunately, Simmons reportedly received such severe injuries that he died shortly after being transported to Harford Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later. At the time of the news article, the Maryland Transportation Authority Police Crash Team, as well as members of the Commercial Vehicle Inspection Team were conducting an investigation of the crash with no specific determination arrived at.
However, public comments on the news page indicate that Mr. Simmons may have ignored the red traffic signal and made a turn in front of the oncoming 18-wheeler. According to those comments, an off-duty police officer observed the incident and attempted to render aid after the traffic collision.
Based on that public commentary, the timing sequence of that particular traffic light can be very long — on the order of seven minutes in one direction before changing to a green for only a few seconds. Further discussion indicates that some drivers know from experience that the light is uncommonly long and therefore a portion of those drivers likely ignore the red and either pass through the intersection of make a turn against the red, supposedly once traffic has cleared.
Though one cannot base any conclusion until a proper police investigation has been completed, it would appear that the victim may have decided to ignore the red light, and was hit by the semi in the process of making his turn.
UPDATED: Man Dies in Collision on Route 22, Patch.com, January 26, 2012
Aberdeen Man Killed in Early Morning Collision with Tractor-Trailer on Rt. 22, DaggerPress.com, January 26, 2012