The Baltimore Sun has an article on a fatal accident in Howard County, Maryland at Route 32 and River Road near the Carroll County border. The article underscores what is pretty easy to see on its face if you drive by that intersection a few times: everyone in the area viewed a fatality at this intersection as a “when a fatal accident happens” situation.
Twenty years ago, there was no traffic light just a few miles west of this intersection at Route 32 and Route 99. That intersection was a classic death trap that was waiting for the accidents that occurred there all of the time. Eventually, a light was added.
Everyone hates additional traffic lights, particularly on long stretches of road like Route 32. But the choice between human life and another minute in traffic is an easy call. We don’t always frame the issue like this in the moment because we live in the moment. We have to get from Point A to Point B. But the death of a mother and her child sure does change the importance of that one minute more in traffic.
Highway fatalities are going to be with us as long as we have cars. We have assumed that risk as a society. But we have to work harder to our roads and the occupants of motor vehicles as save as we can. Because so much is at stake.