Stop signs prove ineffective in preventing deadly accident

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Anyone who has driven on the rural roads of North Dakota can attest to the fact that stop signs are the most prevalent form of traffic control. A recent accident in Hazelton, N.D., has demonstrated that these passive safety measures are not always sufficiently effective to prevent a serious collision.

The incident

A pickup truck driven by a 71-year-old man was heading west on 64th Street. The driver attempted a left-turn into U.S. Highway 83 but was struck by a semi heading north on Highway 83. All roads intersecting with Highway 83 are controlled by stop signs.

The intersection between Highway 83 and 64th Street was likewise controlled by stop signs. The driver of the pickup apparently failed to heed the stop sign controlling entrance on to the Highway. He was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment, but he did not survive his injuries and was pronounced dead at the hospital.

The driver of the semi, a 23-year old from Napoleon, N.D., was slightly injured.

How effective are stop signs?

Stop signs can be no more effective than the willingness of drivers to pay attention to their presence and to obey the command to stop. As noted, the available evidence appears to demonstrate that the driver of the pickup truck either did not see the stop sign or for some reason, chose not to obey it.

Current media reports make no mention of any negligence on the part of the semi operator, and he appears unlikely to be charged with any traffic offense that would support a claim of wrongful death by the family of the pickup driver.

One media report suggested that the investigation into this accident may reveal other safety precautions that may be more effective than stop signs.