A stop sign runner caused a serious T-bone crash in Halifax County, Virginia (VA), on the afternoon of March 24, 2018. The collision between a pickup truck and a car happened at the intersection of U.S. Route 58/Philpott Road and VA 119/Calvary Road.
Virginia State Police responded to the wreck in the community of Alton between South Boston and Danville at around 1:40 pm. They determined that the driver of the pickup caused the collision by failing to yield right of way while trying to enter the highway from a side street. The pickup driver left a stop sign on Calvary Road and went through the median on Route 58 without checking to make sure no other vehicles were in the intersection.
The resulting crash injured both the at-fault driver and the woman behind the wheel of the car. A 13-year-old passenger in the car suffered injuries so severe, that he was flown to Duke University Hospital for treatment.
State troopers announced their intention to charge the pickup truck driver, but they did not specify the alleged offenses. One likely charge is failure to stop or failure to yield right of way. Such a charge would come under section 46.2-821 of the Virginia Code, which states,
The driver of a vehicle approaching an intersection on a highway controlled by a stop sign shall, immediately before entering such intersection, stop at a clearly marked stop line, or, in the absence of a stop line, stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or, in the absence of a marked crosswalk, stop at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway. Before proceeding, he shall yield the right-of-way to the driver of any vehicle approaching on such other highway from either direction.
Violations of this statute lead to thousands of collisions in Virginia each year, and several of those wrecks result in avoidable losses of life. During 2017, the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles recorded a combined 25,136 crashes and 48 deaths due to failures to yield and running traffic controls. While several of these crashes involved turning vehicles and drivers changing lanes, too many were caused by drivers who ignored or failed to look for stop signs and red lights.
With April’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month starting in a few days, my Virginia personal injury lawyer colleagues and I urge all drivers to stay alert for, and in compliance with, stop signals and yield signs. Drivers must also err on the side of caution and exercise patience when turning, merging onto highways or changing lanes. Preventing crashes and avoiding injuries is often as simple as keeping one’s eyes on the road ahead, checking for oncoming traffic and waiting a few extra seconds before moving into an intersection.