Today another person was killed in Harris County in a preventable traffic accident.
The driver of an SUV died after colliding with a Metro bus in north west Houston in the 1700 block of Mangum near Hempstead Highway. The public bus was not carrying passengers at the time of the crash and the bus driver did not require medical attention. The SUV driver was declared dead at the scene.
Now the reason the accident was preventable? According to Metro officials, the driver of the SUV allegedly ran a stop sign!
While the Houston Police Department is investigating this tragic accident, one can only speculate why the unfortunate driver chose not to obey one of the most basic of traffic laws. Maybe they were late for work, or school, or were distracted and just didn’t notice the red stop sign until it was too late?
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has conducted research on what variables affects people’s conduct at stop signs. Things such as age, number of passengers, and time of day were shown to be factors in the stopping behavior of drivers. For instance, over half of the drivers would run a stop sign if they were alone in the vehicle while only 13% would if they had several passengers depending on them.
Another study evaluated around 700,000 police reported vehicle accidents at stop signs. Nearly 70% of all the crashes were a result of stop sign violations! While the violations included other causes such as inability to see approaching traffic, a third of the accidents occurred when the driver did not stop.
One of the first things we are taught before getting our driver’s license is that the bright red octagon sign with “STOP” written in white means exactly that: STOP! Not slow down and proceed if you don’t see anyone, not a rolling stop, but a complete stop.
While it can be tempting to ignore the stop sign, especially if you don’t see an obvious danger approaching, stopping can be the most important decision you make. With statistics that show so many injured or killed by rolling through a stop, the odds are stacked against you when you choose to ignore this sign.
The risks of not obeying this important traffic rule can mean:
- You get a ticket
- You pay a fine
- Increased insurance fees
- Damaged car
- Injury to self or passengers
Or as we see far too often, the risks can be fatal. Please obey the laws, and make a pledge to always “STOP” when you see that red 8-sided sign.