Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Malfunctioning Traffic Light Contributes to Accident in Harford County, Maryland

There is concern among Harford County residents whether a traffic light may have contributed to an accident on January 4, 2010, at the intersection of Perry Avenue and Willoughby Beach Road in Edgewood. One resident who lives on Willoughby Beach Road stated that the traffic light controlling that intersection had been flashing yellow since before Christmas. The normal light sequence prior to this was the light cycled from solid green to yellow to solid red. At approximately 9:18 a.m. on January 4, 2010, a 2004 Nissan Sentra being operated by Jihan Alia Tiffany Hughes, slowly exited the school parking lot on Perry Avenue. When Ms. Hughes entered the intersection she struck Adam William Tammaro, who was operating his 1990 Chevy Camaro east on Willoughby Beach Road causing his vehicle to careen into a third vehicle. The third vehicle was stopped westbound on Willoughby Beach Road waiting to turn left onto Perry Avenue. Ms. Hughes indicated she stopped as she entered the intersection as the light was flashing red and she could not see around the State Highway vehicle that was working on the light. Mr. Tammaro was transported to Upper Chesapeake Hospital in Bel Air with complaints of back pain.

The State Highway Administration received a call around 8:00 a.m. that morning and had someone at the location within an hour to work on the lights. The State Highway Administration worker indicated a replacement part was needed to fix the malfunctioning lights. He stated that when a traffic light malfunctions it automatically switches to flashing yellow.

Malfunctioning traffic lights have contributed to hundreds of accidents. Governmental entities have a duty to the public to periodically inspect traffic control signals and make the necessary repairs immediately upon being notified of the malfunction. Governmental agencies may be held liable for the road conditions, including that of malfunctioning lights; however, there are sovereign immunity issues that have to be considered. That is why it is important to seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney.

Motorists need to use caution at intersections controlled by flashing red and yellow lights and abide by the motor vehicle laws. Maryland Transportation Code Section 21-204 sets forth the actions required by the driver.

If you, a family member or someone you know has been injured in a car accident or you would like more information on car accidents, please visit contact Portner & Shure for a free consultation.


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