Warning: Conniving plaintiff ahead

The Madison County Record Jul. 14, 2015, 11:34am


Stop, slow, yield, merge, caution, curve, no passing, no left turn, no right turn, no U-turn, wrong way, do not enter, dead end, no outlet, pedestrian crossing, soft shoulder, slippery when wet, only this way, only that way, school, hospital, road work ahead.

Signs everywhere, but do they really help?

Several years ago, the European Union launched a pilot project in select cities and regions to see if reducing traffic signs and street markings would lead to better driving habits. Stoplights, stop signs, lane lines, pedestrian crosswalks – all were removed.

One Dutch town scaled back its roadway rules and regulations to just two: “Yield to the right” and “Get in someone’s way and you’ll be towed.”

The idea was that motorists might drive like responsible adults if traffic czars stopped treating them like reckless children.

“The many rules strip us of the most important thing: the ability to be considerate,” Dutch traffic engineer Hans Monderman commented in a 2006 Spiegel Online article. “We’re losing our capacity for socially responsible behavior,” he added.

“The greater the number of prescriptions, the more people’s sense of personal responsibility dwindles.”

Linn Lebonick would not see eye to eye with Monderman. The St. Clair County resident thinks there should be more road signs – at least one more, anyway.

Lebonick thinks there should be a reduced-speed or curve-warning sign on Press Road, just east of Fisher Road, in Smithton Township.

That's where Lebonick was walking on March 31 when a motorist apparently took the curve too fast, overshot the roadway, and struck her.

In addition to likely being compensated from the motorist's insurance carrier for injuries allegedly incurred in the accident, Lebronick has chosen to file suit against the township.

Why? She claims that it was the township's inadequate use of roadway warning signs that “caused the vehicle driven by [the motorist] to collide into the pedestrian.”

That and the likelihood that the township may have significantly greater assets than the motorist, thus presenting a more tempting target for a negotiated settlement.

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