Fatal Car Crash in Maryland’s Washington County Won’t Move Authorities to Install Traffic Signal

For anyone has had a loved die in a senseless traffic accident as a result of poor roadway design or traffic signal placement, it’s hard to imagine that local governments would be slow to remedy even the least dangerous traffic hazards. Still, as Maryland automobile accident lawyers, we at Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have represented clients who even the most casual observer would say had a legitimate claim against a local or state government for not doing its utmost to protect motorists.

In Washington County, MD, just such a situation is brewing. Although a reduced speed limit, as well as other changes have been made on Eastern Boulevard since June, news reports suggest that traffic safety in the area near a local YMCA entrance is not nearly what it should be.

According to reports, there had been three accidents on that stretch of road in the span of two months, one of them fatal. On June 16, four days after that fatal accident, the county’s highway department reportedly reduced the speed limit on Eastern Boulevard from 40 mph to 30 mph for about 600 feet on either side of the intersection in an effort to cause drivers to slow down.

Despite the addition to other roadway enhancements to slow drivers down and make it easier for cross-traffic to turn onto the roadway, local residents have complained to highway authorities to put in a traffic signal.

But according to local news reports, justification for a traffic light must be based on crash history. Sadly, federal guidelines state that an intersection must have a certain volume of traffic and a record of five or more reported crashes in a 12-month period that could have been prevented with a traffic light. And even if those conditions are met, the manual says a traffic light shouldn’t be considered until alternative solutions are tried, with sufficient observation and enforcement.

Based on Maryland State Highway Administration data, which shows there was one crash per year at the intersection in 2005, 2006 and 2007, nothing much is likely to be done. Others disagree with the data. Some local residents report that they have seen many more accidents than that.

Regardless, this is one example of where an experienced auto accident attorney can help the victims of a traffic accident. No matter the cause, it is always an excellent idea to consult a qualified legal professional for advice and counsel regarding any potential claims against another party.

Eastern Boulevard safety improvements help, but fall short, Herald-Mail.com, August 8, 2009

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