GOVERNMENTAL ENTITIES’ LEGAL DUTY TO DESIGN AND MAINTAIN SAFE ROADS UNDER WASHINGTON STATE LAW
If you were injured due to a driver running a stop sign, you might have a claim against the governmental entity responsible for placing the stop sign as well as the driver, if the stop sign was difficult to see. The Stritmatter Firm’s experienced road design and maintenance attorneys have decades of experience handling cases involving defects in road signs.
HIDDEN STOP SIGNS
Stop signs are critical to safety at intersections, but they only work if drivers can see them. Sometimes stop signs can’t be seen because of their location on a curve or because an intersection approach has a wide-mouth design. Sometimes stop signs are hidden by vegetation.
Road design standards require that drivers be able to see stop signs sufficiently in advance so that they can safely come to a stop. The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) explains how to calculate “stopping sight distance” based on a road’s speed limit and the distance required for braking.
Sometimes it is possible to increase sight distance for a stop sign by placing a second stop sign on the left-hand side of an intersection approach. At some locations, stop signs should be supplemented by an overhead flashing red light. If it is not possible to provide the required sight distance for a stop sign, then road design standards require that a Stop Ahead sign be used to warn drivers that they need to begin slowing down for a stop sign.
MISPLACED STOP AHEAD SIGNS
The MUTCD has guidance on where to locate Stop Ahead signs, based on the speed limit on a road. If a Stop Ahead sign is placed too far in advance of a Stop sign, it won’t be effective to tell drivers where they need to start slowing down to stop, and drivers might forget about the Stop Ahead sign by the time they get close to the stop sign. The MUTCD warns about placing Stop Ahead signs too far in advance of Stop signs for these very reasons.
THE EXPERIENCED ROAD SAFETY ATTORNEYS AT THE STRITMATTER FIRM ARE HERE TO HELP
Governmental entities have a legal duty to design and maintain roads in a reasonably safe condition under Washington law. Road design and maintenance cases involve complex engineering and legal issues. If you or a loved one have been injured because of a dangerous road condition, call The Stritmatter Firm for a free consultation with one of our experienced road safety lawyers.
To learn more, watch Keith & Ray’s March 2022 Webinar on Government Liability for Dangerous Roads.