According to figures released by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, just over 787,000 accidents occur at intersections yearly. Experts estimate that approximately 96 percent of these accidents were attributable to errors or negligence on the part of one or more drivers. Stop sign violations account for a significant percentage of accidents at intersections; these crashes can potentially cause serious injury to drivers and passengers in all vehicles involved. For individuals who have been injured as the result of a stop sign violation, seeking the professional help of a Houston auto accident attorney can often provide added help in obtaining compensation for injuries and losses sustained in these preventable crashes.
How Stop Signs Affect Drivers
Some studies have shown that drivers tend to drive faster between stops when stop signs are used to control traffic at intersections. This can undercut the purpose of stop signs intended to reduce speeds in specific areas. Additionally, stop signs may be regarded as nuisances for drivers who must stop repeatedly while navigating a particular stretch of road. This can sometimes result in lower volumes of traffic; however, studies have shown that these decreases are usually short-lived. Stops that are perceived by drivers as unnecessary also present compliance problems for law enforcement and can actually increase the risk of accidents at these intersections.
Drawbacks of Unnecessary Stop Signs
Along with reduced compliance on the part of drivers, unwarranted stop sign installations also produce a number of other negative effects that include the following:
- Increased air and noise pollution at the stop sign intersection
- Added fuel consumption and increased wear and tear on brakes for drivers
- Reduced attention on the part of drivers that can endanger pedestrians in the area
By reducing the use of stop signs in areas where they are not necessary to ensure driver and pedestrian safety, public officials can reduce the risk of accidents at these intersections.
Causes of Stop Sign Accidents
Most accidents at stop sign intersections are attributable to driver error or negligence. Some of the most common factors in these accidents include the following:
- Turning without a clear and unobstructed view of other traffic on the road
- Assuming that other drivers will behave in a particular way
- Failure to come to a complete stop
- Misunderstanding the rules regarding the right of way at a two or four-way stop
- Failure to see the stop sign in time to stop
- Misjudging the speed of traffic coming from other directions
- Aggressive or distracted driving
- Weather conditions, especially on slick, snowy or icy roads
- Equipment failures
- Conditions affecting or impairing the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle
Especially at intersections where not all directions are required to stop, the speed of oncoming traffic can result in serious injuries to all parties to an accident.
Who Is at Fault?
Determining responsibility for stop sign accidents can be challenging. To prove fault, it may be necessary to obtain statements from witnesses to the crash or to request a reconstruction of the accident from a qualified specialist in this field. If a police report on the crash is available, this can also be used as evidence to allocate blame for the accident and ensure the proper payment from insurance companies. A professional Houston auto accident and personal injury attorney can provide the support needed to navigate this process and to receive the financial settlement necessary to manage medical bills and repair costs.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a stop sign collision, consulting with an experienced Houston traffic accident lawyer can ensure a fair settlement for injuries and financial losses sustained in these incidents. A qualified personal injury lawyer can negotiate with insurers and represent your case both in and out of court to provide you with the compensation you deserve.