Along Route 173 in Illinois, a horrific intersection accident involving a school bus is what it took in order for the Department of Transportation to agree that a stoplight was necessary.
A Deadly Wadsworth Intersection
Like many intersections throughout Illinois and the rest of the country, the intersection of Route 173 and Kilbourne Road near Wadsworth had outgrown its original design. It was once a small-town intersection, and a four-way stop sign was good enough. Times changed, however, and as Route 173 became a major motorway, the simple intersection was no longer suitable to handle the heavy traffic load during peak periods.
A School Bus Accident Forces IDOT’s Hand
Many people who use the intersection on a regular basis complained to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and to their local authorities and representatives, but not much happened. As one intersection accident after another occurred, IDOT stood by its assessment that the traffic volume at that intersection did not mandate a traffic light. This was clearly a case where there was a disconnect between regulations and common sense. Finally, after a bus filled with children rolled over and one motorist died, IDOT agreed that a stoplight was necessary.
Not a Rare Occurrence
Unfortunately, this is not an unusual occurrence. In fact, in that same area of Route 173, there are other intersections that require stoplights, but the IDOT has done nothing. Unless traffic volume or accident counts reach certain levels, Illinois law doesn’t require a stoplight. In other words, the state is essentially using traffic accidents as a measure for when an intersection has graduated from stop signs to stoplights. It is simply mind-boggling from that perspective.
A Strong Push for Change
Understandably, many citizens are angered by this approach and calling for change. It took 53 crashes and one fatality to get an intersection at Kilbourne Road finally and that’s too much. Illinois lawmakers are seeking change, and many local political hopefuls have included this sensitive issue as part of their platform.
The Rights of Those Affected By Auto Accidents At Intersections
If someone is hurt or suffers property damage as such an intersection, whose fault is it? Fault is generally assigned to one of the drivers involved in the accident. However, a strong legal argument can be made that the state is at fault for not upgrading the intersection appropriately and thereby not protecting its citizens. In fact, this argument has been used before to win vehicle crash lawsuits. If you’ve been in an intersection accident and feel the government deserves blame, seek out a lawyer to find out what your options are.