A Tough Left Turn

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Q: Wanting to enter the driveway of a shopping center, I made a left-hand turn from the street.  In an opposing lane, I collided with another vehicle.  There was no traffic signal at this spot.

It turns out that, in response to customer complaints, the center had commissioned a private engineering firm to conduct a study of the traffic conditions. The engineer had presented the study to the County with its recommendation that a traffic light be installed.

Instead, the County made its own studies of traffic conditions, including a traffic survey.  It conducted various on-site observations and reviewed motor vehicle accident data.  Eventually, the Public Works department announced that a traffic signal was totally unwarranted.

True, the County removed trees and a fence in order to improve visibility, and it installed warning signs.  Still, I want to sue the County: they should have installed a signal.

A: A governmental body may be held liable for a traffic planning decision only when its study is plainly inadequate or there is no reasonable basis for its plan.  Did the County consider the data contained in the engineer study as well as its own independently-obtained data?  Did it examine the need for a signal?  Did it pay attention to the issue of left-turn safety?

Something more than a choice between conflicting opinions of experts is required before a governmental body may be held liable for negligently performing its traffic planning function.  Your attorney will strive to show, not merely that another option was available, but also that the County’s response lacked a reasonable basis.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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