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Road Injury Prevention & Litigation Journal
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February 2, 1998
Indiana County's Intersection Design May Be Negligent Even When It Conformed to Engineering Standards

Following a collision between a semi-tractor trailer and a passenger car in which the driver of the car was killed, the driver's parents and his injured passenger sued Indiana's Montgomery County (County). The suit charged that the intersection of a state road and a County road was negligently designed. The Montgomery Circuit Court granted the County's motion for summary judgment. The Court of Appeals of Indiana found that, although the County had complied with required engineering standards in designing the intersection, issues of material fact remained as to whether the County had breached its duty to exercise reasonable care in designing, constructing, and maintaining its highways. The appeals court reversed the trial court's summary judgment.

February 2, 1998
Georgia DOT Not Immune from Liability for Intersection Control Devices

A motorist and two passengers died in a collision at an intersection under construction. The Georgia Department of Transportation had placed temporary stop signs for traffic in both directions on the highway on which they were traveling; no signs or signals confronted traffic on the intersecting highway. The uncontrolled highway had previously ended at a T-intersection with stop signs for all three directions of travel; that highway had recently been extended beyond the intersection. When a representative of one passenger sued, the Superior Court, Stephens County awarded a judgment in favor of the plaintiff. The State of Georgia appealed, maintaining that the Georgia Tort Claims Act protected the State's immunity. The Court of Appeals of Georgia found no exceptions to design standards liability and affirmed the trial court's decision.

February 2, 1998
New Jersey Court Finds City May Be Liable for Icy Patch on State Highway

Injuries in motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 0-19. Adult drivers and passengers are responsible for the safety of children in the car, primarily by seeing that children are properly restrained. A recent study examined driver characteristics for crashes where children and teenage passengers were injured or killed, particularly those factors related to victim restraint. The results of the study, published by the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine, were discussed by Ted R. Miller, Rebecca S. Spicer, and Diane C. Lestina in their article "Who's Driving When Unrestrained Kids Get Hurt?" The study revealed that "driver and crash characteristics of 0-14 and 15-19 year-old injury victims are very different." In addition, "though restraint use is higher than teenagers, a large proportion of child victims remain unrestrained."

February 2, 1998
Characteristics of Drivers Involved in Crashes Resulting in Injury to Unrestrained Children

An issue known as "traffic calming" has received considerable recent discussion in the traffic engineering profession. In the July 1997 issue of the ITE Journal, James R. Hanks, international president of ITE (Institute of Transportation Engineers), noted that people often view traffic calming as little more than an effort to fix earlier mistakes made in designing street patterns. Summarized here are ITE Journal articles describing the process used to reach agreement on a definition of traffic calming and interpretations of that definition.

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