April 20, 2013

Another View: Highway engineers want to spend millions on needless 'fixes'

An intersection with no serious crashes in three years does not require improvement.

By STEVE BROUMAS

Reviewing the crash statistics provided in the Press Herald article on April 10 ("Public to consider high-crash intersection options"), I was amazed that an intersection in Westbrook that sees more than 14,000 vehicles per day (that's 5.1 million vehicles per year) and only results in four crashes per year, none causing serious injury or death, would be considered a "high-crash intersection."

 If you do the math, the statistics indicate that 99.99993 percent of the drivers who negotiate this intersection do so without managing to smash into someone else. Amazing!

Those figures don't justify spending taxpayer dollars to idiot-proof this intersection simply because one in every 1.3 million drivers is incapable of safely negotiating it.  

Certainly there are areas where traffic lights are absolutely needed, but there has been a ridiculous explosion of traffic lights in the greater Portland area over the past 25 years.

And I see little need to add a single light anywhere for many years to come.  

Maybe it is just easier to remember red stop, green go, than to use our brains to determine appropriate action at intersections.  

A vast majority of drivers drive safely and reasonably, but because a very small percentage doesn't, everyone is penalized by unnecessary nanny-state traffic control and restrictions.          

Although driving is supposed to be a privilege, serious traffic offenders are dealt with as though driving is a right and you just can't take their right to drive away -- or at least, not for very long.  

If there was ever a way to get unsafe drivers off the road permanently, it would be possible to eliminate over half of the traffic lights and greatly reduce the hours of operation of the rest, eliminate all red left turn arrows and change most stop signs to yield signs.  

Then again, we might actually have to concentrate on driving instead of fooling with the car stereo, sending text messages or shopping on Amazon.

Steve Broumas is a resident of Waterboro.

 

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