Car Wrecks Involving Malfunctioning Traffic Lights

Nashville and the rest of middle Tennessee sees more than its fair share of weather. This time of year we’ve come to expect at least one major storm or other weather event and when it happens, it’s not just the lights at your house that go out. Traffic signals regularly become inoperable—sometimes for days on end. Most drivers know what to do when a traffic light goes out and pay extra attention on the road. Even so, in the wake of a storm driver actions at intersections can be unpredictable and serious car crashes occur regularly.

 Tennessee’s Rules of the Road provide a very simple rule for how to handle malfunctioning or inoperable traffic signals.

(c) The driver of any vehicle approaching an intersection that is controlled by a traffic-control signal that is inoperative because of mechanical failure or accident shall come to a full and complete stop at the intersection, and may proceed with due caution when it is safe to do so; provided, that if two (2) or more vehicles enter such an intersection from different directions at approximately the same time, after having come to full and complete stops, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right.

T.C.A. § 55-8-110 (West).

 In its most basic form, the rule is to treat an inoperable stoplight as a stop sign. If it’s a four-way intersection—it’s a four way stop. Unfortunately, not all drivers follow the rule and car crashes at malfunctioning traffic lights are very common in Nashville and Tennessee.

Our law firm handles these cases regularly and obtains significant recoveries for accident victims injured in these types of car wrecks. If you or someone you love has been injured in one of these intersections, contact us for a free consultation.


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