The effectiveness of traffic control signs depends upon the ability of drivers to see the sign and perceive the warning. A recent intersection collision in Missoula gave attending officers the thought that alcohol or drugs may have impaired the ability of one driver to heed a posted stop sign.
According to news report, officers were dispatched to an intersection in Missoula to check out an intersection collision between two automobiles. When officers arrived on the scene, they observed two automobiles facing southbound in the northbound lanes on Reserve Street. Officers also saw two young males walking around the vehicles. Both men appeared to be injured and confused.
One of the officers spoke with the driver of a 2007 Toyota Scion, which had extensive damage to its right side. The other driver was in a Honda Civic. When asked, the second driver told officers that he had dashcam footage of the accident. With the driver’s permission, the officer removed the Micro SD card from the Honda’s dashboard. The man told officers that he had turned northbound onto Reserve Street from Books Street and continued to head north in the left lane.
As the driver of the Honda approached Dearborn Avenue, he saw the other car traveling east on Dearborn at a high rate of speed. The speeding vehicle traveled through the intersection at a high rate of speed without stopping.
The driver of the northbound automobile said that he did not have enough time to stop and avoid a collision. He crashed into the speeding vehicle on the passenger side. The intersection has a stop sign, but the driver of the speeding vehicle apparently did not see the sign because he made no apparent effort to obey it.
According to court documents, the driver of the speeding vehicle appeared to have glossy eyes, a moderate odor of alcohol, and appeared to be under the influence of alcohol.
The driver of the speeding vehicle has been charged with felony criminal endangerment, failure to obey a stop sign, and operating without liability insurance. (A check of the driver’s records disclosed that he had at least three prior convictions concerning the failure to purchase proper automobile liability insurance. The State is continuing its investigation pending further charges. The observations of the officers during the booking process may lead to charges of impaired driving
Based upon information reported by the media, the driver of the eastbound vehicle on Dearborn Avenue may have been intoxicated and therefore may bear a significant portion of liability for this accident. Anyone who has suffered an injury under similar circumstances may wish to pursue a claim for damages.