Thursday, July 5, 2012

It's a Derby (Demolition, that is)

What to do when the voices who are supposed to propogate reasoned information that promotes public safety instead misinform and promote anarchy?  Well, in my case, the solution is to get on here and bitch about it.

Two recent examples come to mind.  Both are legally incorrect.  I know because I'm both a lawyer and somoene who works in auto claims in Maryland. 

First, there's a new law in Maryland that's designed to protect police and EMTs and such from getting killed by morons driving recklessly and speedily.  There's no question it's a dangerous place to be when a cop pulls someone over for speeding or something.  Highway shoulders aren't affording any protection from the morons who drive too fast and lose control.  So, Maryland passed a law that says anyone passing an emergency personnel vehicle with lights activated has to either slow down to 10 mph below the posted speed limit or move over a lane.  It has to be that either/or because not every place that cops pull someone over has more than one lane, unless you want to compound the situation and have people crossing the center line into oncoming traffic.  Anyway, the State Highway Administration and the police are putting out there only one part of the law, the having to move over a lane.  This means that traffic is effectively funneling into only one lane on most highways whenever a cop is on the shoulder, jamming up traffic and making accidents more likely.  It may be the preference of the cops that traffic move over a lane, but it's not the law and it's creating dangerous situations.

Worse than that is the traffic light admonition being promulgated in local media.  Maryland had severe storms blow through on June 29, which caused a lot of traffic lights to be out at intersections.  Every local station, radio or TV, is telling people to treat these intersections as 4 way stops.  Problem is, that's not the law in Maryland.  They're only supposed to be treated as 4 way stops if the intersecting roads are the same size (i.e. both are 2 lanes in each direction).  If one road is larger (i.e. 2 lanes in each direction versus 1 lane in each direction), then the larger road has the right of way.  So, someone who knows the law and is proceeding along a major road with the right of way now has people pulling out in front of them from smaller roads because the local news is telling them the person on the major road is supposed to stop as though it were 4 way stop.  I smell major accidents and possibly litigation against the stations spreading the misinformation.  Now that would be interesting.

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