A story on a local New Jersey television station and their website has brought attention to the issue of drivers failing to fully stop at stop signs. The story refers to an incident this week where a school bus was involved in an accident. Imagine if you were in a hurry or distracted and failed to stop or executed a "California Stop" (a rolling stop), and your negligence resulted in the death or injury of another. Your life and the lives of another family would be changed tragically and irrevocably forever. All for the sake of saving a few seconds. The news story in question also refers to potential property damage resulting from driver's inattention to stop signs, pointing to an incident three years ago where an irresponsible driver went through a stop sign and "slammed" his car into a house. With failing to come to a complete stop occurring in epidemic proportions across the nation, many communities are resorting to band-aid solutions, such as speed bumps, in an attempt to decrease stop sign related accidents. This rather insufficient measure may have some short-term results, but rather than slowing traffic down, methods are available to actually stop vehicles at stop signs. Community members should be calling authorities when they witness these infractions as well as verbally berating drivers where possible. Getting a license plate number and alerting the authorities is a measure that is easily accomplished and may have some genuine effect on drivers. A verbal reprimand from a neighbor is not only embarrassing but will be vividly remembered by both the offender and any by-stander who happens to witness the incident. As well the offender will doubtlessly relate the tale of the "crazy neighbor" to others. A small fine for the infraction seems to be ineffective given the trivialization of the offense in so many driver's minds. Fines should be increased to something that is going to result in raising awareness of stop signs. Hitting a person hard in the wallet may give them pause the next time they are tempted to save a little time. Signs should be erected in neighborhoods notifying potential offenders that the community alerts the authorities when they witness ANY traffic infraction. The choice is the driver's - save a little time or save a life - all for the sake of a few seconds. If you would like more information about this topic or have general legal questions, please feel free to contact me at (973)949-3770 or via email at [email protected] We answer legal questions on a daily basis and would be happy to discuss any issues or questions that you have with you.
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