The Illinois Vehicle Code requires that every driver of a vehicle approaching an intersection with a stop sign completely stop before entering the intersection (625 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 5/11-1204). This law has the intent to keep everyone safe.
Still, the government reports that thousands of motor vehicle crashes occur annually at intersections with stop signs. Further, approximately one-third of these stop sign crashes involve injuries.
To help alleviate the injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents, car manufacturers are including more accident preventing features in order to protect drivers. For example, front and rear end sensors which alert the driver of a near object. This technology is becoming more common.
But at the same time, many other car features, like touchscreen dashboards and GPS, are increasing driver distractions. This can increase the chances of a stop sign accident that results in serious injury.
If you were injured when another driver ran a stop sign and caused a car accident, the experienced Chicago stop sign accident attorneys at Abels & Annes can help. Contact us today online or by calling (312) 924-7575.
Illinois Laws about Stop Signs and Red lights
Stop Sign Law
Illinois law 625 ILCS 5/11-1204(b) states that “every driver of a vehicle […] approaching a stop intersection indicated by a stop sign shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or […] shall stop at a clearly marked stop line…” The only exception to this rule is when a police officer is directing traffic and giving drivers specific instructions about how to proceed.
Red Light Law
Illinois laws (625 ILCS 5/11-305 and 5/11-306) states that all drivers and other motor vehicle operators must fully stop when facing a non-blinking red light. The driver must stop at or before the clearly marked stop line. If there is no marked stop line, they must stop before the crosswalk. If there is no crosswalk, they must stop before entering the intersection.
Yield Sign Law
Illinois law 625 ILCS 5/11-1204(c) states that “the driver of the vehicle approaching a yield sign shall in obedience to such sign slow down to a speed reasonable for the existing conditions and, if required for safety to stop, shall stop at a clearly marked stop line…”
After the vehicle has sufficiently slowed down or stopped, they are then allowed to proceed to merge into traffic while yielding to those who have the right-of-way.
Penalties for Running a Stop Sign or Red Light in Illinois
In Illinois, the fine for running a stop sign or red light is typically $120.00. If you run a red light at an intersection that uses a red light camera, the fine is typically $100.00.
In addition to a fine, the state of Illinois will also add 20 demerit points to your driving record if you don’t receive court supervision in traffic court. With supervision, eligible drivers can avoid these points on their license by completing traffic school. Eligibility depends on the person’s driving record, their current demerit points, and how often or recently they have used the driving school privilege for a different violation.
If the violation also includes a conviction for reckless driving or reckless homicide, the driver may face further charges, fines, and jail time.
Why do so Many Auto Accidents Occur at Stop Signs or Red Lights?
Some of the most common reasons that accidents occur at intersections with stop sign or red lights include:
- Not Recognizing Who Is Required to Stop at an Intersection
- A Driver Thinking a Car in Front of Them Went But Didn’t
- Driving Through an Intersection While Distracted
- Doing a “California Roll” or “Slow & Go” Rather Than Stopping
- Hidden Stops Signs and Blocked View
Intersection accidents are notorious for causing t-bone (side impact) accidents, rear-end accidents, head-on accidents, multicar pileups, sideswipe accidents, pedestrian accidents, and bicycle accidents.
Not Recognizing Who Is Required to Stop at Intersection
Intersections that require multiple drivers to stop can confuse a driver about whether they are required to stop or whose turn it is to go.
Stop signs at these types of intersections are usually labeled with a description below the stop sign, such as “4-WAY”, “2-WAY”, or “ALL WAY.”
Some intersections will also state that “cross traffic doesn’t stop.”
It is a driver’s responsibility to pay attention to whose turn it is to proceed through the intersection and to look for these tags before proceeding.
If a driver doesn’t bother to check what type of stop is required at an intersection, or goes when it is not their turn, they could cause a serious car accident that results in injuries.
A Driver Thinks a Car in Front of Them Went but Didn’t
When a driver is not paying close enough attention, they may look up to see the driver ahead of them has started moving forward. If that front driver decided to not go for one reason or another, the back driver could accelerate without checking in front of them again. This type of accident is common at both stop signs and stop lights.
Accidents caused by drivers who mistakenly believe the car in front of them already went are usually caused when:
- A traffic light turns green but the person in the back didn’t notice the other driver is still stopped
- They were second in line to yield right and didn’t realize the driver decided to not turn yet
One of the most common reasons the driver in front decides not to go even though it seems that they have the right of way is the presence of a pedestrian crossing the road, an unexpected cyclist, or a driver who runs a red light at an intersection, making it unsafe for others to proceed.
Driving Through an Intersection While Distracted
Of these stop sign runners, a substantial amount of them admit to being distracted when the collision occurred. One of the biggest distractions reported to affect stop sign related collisions is using a cellphone while driving.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reported that two separate studies have linked talking on a cellphone to a 4 times increase in the likelihood of a crash resulting in injury. In an era of Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, younger drivers are more likely than older drivers to use their phones while driving. Phones have become nearly integrated with the brains of those who grew up in the modern era. So it is no surprise that they would be used while driving.
Also, as laws about using your phone while driving tighten, drivers are using red lights and stop signs as a ‘work-around’ to using their phone while behind the wheel.
Doing a “California Roll” or “Slow & Go”
About one-third of stop sign violation crashes involve drivers who say they did not stop before proceeding. And just in case you didn’t know, at stop signs, drivers must stop, look for any oncoming vehicles, and judge whether it is safe to proceed. You cannot just slow down to what you perceive as a reasonable speed.
Hidden Stops Signs and Blocked View
Despite stopping at a stop sign, visibility can sometimes be a problem. Forty-four percent of drivers involved in stop sign car collisions said they could not see the other vehicle coming for one reason or another, even though they stopped at the stop sign. The design of the road or intersection may be contributing factors to reduced visibility. Parked vehicles, shrubbery, or glare may also obstruct the driver’s visibility, which could result in potential collisions.
However, it is not a defense if a driver fails to observe oncoming traffic due to an obstruction. Or to say that traffic was clear and the other car “came out of nowhere”. The driver proceeding out of a 2-way stop intersection has an obligation to make sure that traffic is clear. This is also true because stop signs are usually accompanied by stop lines on the pavement to give drivers an extra clue that they need to stop.
If a stop sign in your area is hidden or broken, you should report it to your local authorities right away. Such a small step could save someone’s life.
Technologies Being Used to Prevent Stop Sign Accidents
The majority of stop sign collisions occur in intersections. Intersections are dangerous because of the high volume of vehicles crossing each other’s path. Additionally, poor visibility caused by other cars, buildings, or signage along with poor roadway design make for dangerous intersections.
The IIHS and the Department of Transportation advocate for the focus to be put on improving the design of intersections by implementing safer forms of traffic control.
Some ways that intersections could be made safer include:
- Pavement markers that warn drivers of an upcoming stop sign can get a driver’s attention.
- Installing more efficient and smarter traffic control lights to help prevent congestion.
- Widening roadways to better control traffic flow.
- Adding signage that alerts drivers to upcoming situations.
- Installing more turning lanes or improving existing turning lanes to prevent yielding accidents.
- Checking intersections periodically to see if the stop signs are visible and are not being obstructed.
- Making more intersections all-way or four-way stops, which can reduce overall crashes by 40% to 60%.
Crash Avoidance Technologies
The automotive industry has begun implementing crash avoidance technologies that can alert the driver before a crash or at least reduce the severity of the crash.
Front crash prevention systems such as radars, sensors or cameras alert the driver when another vehicle is close. Some of these systems link to the car’s brake system, which allows the car to apply the brakes automatically if the driver does not respond.
Front crash prevention, also called Automatic Emergency Braking, is becoming more common in newer vehicles. Hopefully it may even become a standard safety feature like seat belts and air bags. After all, there are already lots of rules requiring vehicles to have certain safety features. Why not require a feature as important as automatic braking?
In March 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety announced a commitment of 20 major automakers (this represents 99% of U.S. vehicle sales) to make front crash prevention systems standard on virtually all car models by September 2022.
Like front crash prevention systems, there are also systems that can detect traffic coming from the side. Cross-traffic alerts help to keep drivers safe by alerting a driver when an object is approaching from the side.
What Should I Do After a Stop Sign Accident? Who’s at fault?
Illinois uses a “fault” system when determining who is liable for the damages that result from the car accident.
If you are ever in a stop sign accident, one important factor is establishing liability. This needs to be done in order to get adequate compensation for your injuries. This is where stop sign collision attorneys in Chicago can help.
If there were any witnesses to your accident, it is important to get their information. You might need their help in proving that the defendant is liable. Liability means that a person is legally responsible for the accident and damages.
Also, it is critical that you call the police immediately when an accident occurs. The police will arrive at the scene of the accident and will create an official police report. This can be very beneficial in illustrating the at-fault driver’s negligence. The police will assess the accident and will be able to handle any situation that may arise after the accident.
Also, reach out to a lawyer that handles accident cases ASAP. He or she can determine the best course of action moving forward depending on the facts of the case.
Cars Are Not the Only Ones in Danger at Intersections
Pedestrians and cyclists are extremely vulnerable on roadways, especially at intersections. They are at greater risk for being killed in a crash than other drivers and people using the road.
When a car driver does not pay attention at an intersection, runs a stop sign, or fails to obey a traffic light, they put pedestrians and bicyclists at risk too.
Pedestrians and cyclists are much more exposed than drivers in other vehicles. Because of this, pedestrians and cyclists should be extra cautious when crossing through intersections. Even if it is the driver’s responsibility to stop, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Should You Contact a Chicago Stop Sign Accident Lawyer at Abels & Annes?
If you have been injured, or someone you love has been injured or killed in a stop sign related car collision, the personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes can help you. Whatever injury or damage you may have suffered, our experienced team of attorneys has the knowledge necessary to make sure you recover all the damages to which you may be entitled.
We can help you through the confusing process of dealing with:
- The accident investigation
- Insurance paperwork
- Medical treatment issues
- Medical bills
- Lost income forms
We can also try to assist with any other issues that may arise. This can be particularly important when you are trying to focus on recovering from your injuries.
With a simple toll-free telephone call, the stop-sign collision attorneys at Abels & Annes will be happy to give you a free consultation. We can answer your questions and provide you the information you need to determine how to proceed.
If you are the victim of a stop sign collision, contact Abels & Annes. You can call us at (312) 924-7575, or contact us online. Also, there is no attorney’s fee unless you win your case. Call our law firm today and find out how we can help you to get your life back on track.
If you were injured in a Chicago stop sign car accident, call Abels & Annes, P.C. toll free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO today.