Massachusetts state officials say that one-quarter of traffic accidents that take place at an intersection occur when a driver is turning left. They hope that installing new left turn signals at intersections will help decrease the accident rate.

Traffic signals are traffic control devices that provide direction to drivers by alternately assigning right of way to drivers. They facilitate shared road space by separating conflicting movements and by using delays for various drivers. They are most often used at busy intersections for operational reasons and sometimes represent a trade-off between mobility and safety.

Traffic Signal Accidents by the Numbers

Fatalities from traffic accidents are on the rise in general. Statistics from the Federal Highway Administration reports an increase in fatalities from traffic accidents of almost 5,000 between 2010 and 2016 (the most recent year of statistics). With this increase in numbers comes an increase in accidents at intersections.

In 2016, there were 10,267 fatalities that occurred at intersections. Of those fatalities, fewer than half, or 3,145, took place at intersections with traffic signals, showing that traffic signals do indeed, increase safety at intersections. Out of the 2016 fatalities that took place at intersections with traffic signals, 776 involved a pedestrian and 153 involved a bicyclist.

In urban areas, nearly 50% of all crashes occur at intersections. Over 40% of pedestrian fatalities occur at intersections with no cross walk. A pedestrian is killed every 111 minutes on average in the U.S.

What is the Problem with Intersections?

Many drivers who are in car accidents at intersections say they simply did not see the other driver coming or failed to see the pedestrian in the crosswalk. Other drivers reported that their views were obstructed, making them unable to see the other vehicle. In some situations, the design or shape of the roadway can make it hard to see approaching traffic. Other times, parked vehicles, glares from lights, or trees and bushes may obstruct the driver’s view.

A relatively small percentage of intersection crashes, just 12%, involved drivers who simply failed to stop; however, these accidents were more likely to cause severe injuries. Young drivers, particularly young men, were the most likely to be found at fault in these accidents.

Reducing Intersection Crashes

Experts seem to agree that traffic signals do a better job of controlling accidents than simply stop and yield signs alone. However, maintaining intersections plays an important role, as well. They say that intersections should be inspected regularly to ensure that views are not obstructed by shrubbery and other structures.

Contact a Massachusetts Personal Injury Attorney

If you were injured due to another driver’s negligence, especially if they failed to obey traffic control signals, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. An experienced Massachusetts personal injury attorney can review your case and determine how much compensation you can receive.

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