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Running Stop Signs: A Risky Mistake


Running a stop sign: drivers seem to get away with it unscathed at times. Traffic control devices, such a stop signs, require drivers to come to a complete stop at the limit line, that white line painted on the street to indicate where to stop, or, in the event there is no line, at the entrance to the crossing. Failure to do so results in a fine of approximately $125, depending on the county. But as we all know, the consequences can be much greater than a simple fine. If you are the victim of a collision due to a stop sign violation, hiring a personal injury attorney may be advisable.

The Real Consequences

You are taking a risk when you run a stop sign. You are betting that no pedestrians, bicyclists, or vehicles will cross your path. Unfortunately, as we all know, that is not always the case. These types of crashes can result in horrendous outcomes. One recent case involved an Audi that ran a stop sign in Punta Gorda, Florida. It collided with an SUV, resulting in a fiery explosion that killed four individuals and injured another. 

Why Drivers Do Not Stop 

There are over 700,000 collisions in this country every year at stop sign controlled intersections. That’s about 33 percent of all intersection crashes combined. Why do so many drivers fail to obey the stop sign? Research indicates there are many reasons:

  • Drivers just don’t notice the sign. Inattentive driving is a key problem;
  • People are in a hurry. Their impatience compels them to drive on through without stopping;
  • Drivers tend to roll through the stop sign, particularly when making left turns;
  • Obstructions like parked vehicles or foliage obstruct drivers’ view;
  • Drivers are distracted by passengers, cell phones, eating, animals or other diversions;
  • Drivers are speeding, and just plow forward, ignoring the sign;
  • Drugs or alcohol impair the driver.

Each of these excuses for failing to stop at a stop sign are of little help when the result is a collision. 

Stop Sign Issues? 

Some experts blame stop signs themselves for the accidents that occur. They claim that there are significant problems with stop signs:

  • Stop signs distract drivers. Instead of paying attention to the road, motorists are focused on the sign itself.
  • The signs instruct, rather than allowing drivers to use their own judgment.
  • Additional signage is frequently posted above, below or near stop signs, confusing drivers and requiring even more of their attention.
  • Stop signs frequently conflict with the realities and necessities of the traffic situation. Drivers become accustomed to ignoring the signs.

Whether or not you agree that stop signs are poorly designed attempts to control traffic, the fact of the matter is that Florida law requires vehicles to come to a complete stop when approaching a stop sign. These excuses will doubtlessly not fare well in a court of law.

After a Collision

Have you suffered serious injuries or property damage because another driver failed to come to a complete stop at a stop sign? If so, the experienced, aggressive team at Barbas, Nunez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian can help. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation.


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