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May 10, 2019 · OPINION

Don’t blame Remington intersection for accidents

By John Green

In the recent past, two fatal traffic accidents occurred on Route 29 at the traffic light at Freemans Ford Road just west of Remington. There was an immediate call to do something so this would not happen again. This is a normal and proper response.

The community went to the Virginia Department of Transportation for a solution. Last month the proposed solution was discussed with the community and VDOT.

VDOT proposed eliminating the traffic light, forbidding left turns, eliminating direct crossing of Route 29 on Freemans Ford Road and installing U-turn lanes north and south of the intersection. All the fault appears to be placed on the physical intersection itself.

It’s important to consider the existing physical conditions at the intersection: A straight four-lane highway in both directions for at least three-quarters of mile, the approaches in both directions flat, there are no roadside distractions, the traffic light can be seen in both directions from great distance. The layout of the intersection and light had little or no influence on the accidents.

The accidents were caused by vehicles, at near highway speed, crashing into vehicles on Route 29 that were stopped for a red light. VDOT’s solution does away with the traffic light but transfers risk to U-turn lanes needed to allow vehicles to travel in their desired direction.

Deficient roadways can cause accidents. That doesn’t appear to be the problem here.

The problem is driver distraction. Our vehicles are full of devices that can and do distract drivers. We hear it said, “t wasn’t my fault, it was the road, the weather, the car, the whatever.”

Let’s own up to a major problem – driver distraction. We have laws against distracted driving. They need to be enforced. We may need new laws. We most certainly need greater attention paid to stopping driver distraction.

An observation: Routes 29, 15 and 17 are major roadways that carry not only local but also interstate traffic. When a traffic light is removed from one of these major highways, it stops the pulsing of traffic and makes it much more difficult for side road traffic to enter or cross the main road safely. This is becoming a greater risk as traffic increases. In our desire to keep our county rural, we must realize we have responsibilities beyond just ourselves.

We need our supervisors, state senator and delegates to speak out strongly against driver distraction. We need greater enforcement of present laws and perhaps some new laws to keep up with the technology.
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Jim Griffin · May 12, 2019 at 6:09 pm
Read and learn for yourself, thus the links. Not dragging anything to the mud. Hell, I want the law passed -- and JD is pretending I don't! Poppycock.

Pork had nothing to do with. Protecting the base did.

The light of day is the best disinfectant.
Jim Griffin · May 12, 2019 at 2:20 pm
JD's assertion that placing blame on Republicans for the failure of the hands-free legislation is a distraction from the dangerous problem is categorically false.

The Republican base opposed this legislation. See, for example:

The governor attempted to override the differences in legislation such that there could be a straight up or down vote on the concept. He was blocked by the Republican speaker, who ruled this road safety law insufficiently relevant to the road safety bill to which it was attached.

JD claimed it was "pork" -- convenient to his incessant partisan narrative, when nothing could be further from the truth. Pork had nothing to do with it. Appeasing the right-wing base did (as evidenced by the above-linked opinion on a Virginia right-wing news site).

The definition of pork has two possibilities: 1, Pig flesh, and 2, "pork barrel spending".

Neither money nor pig flesh was at issue. It was a Republican Speaker playing to the Republican base.

Let's be clear: I favor the restriction sought, however expressed. It is progress to get phones out of the hands of drivers. The governor made a valiant attempt to do so but was thwarted by the Republican House Speaker playing to a Right-Wing Republican base. Road safety is road safety and highly relevant.

As the right-wingers wrote in direct expression and comments, "for some reason, a handful of busybodies in Richmond want to single out cell phones, going way over the top with intrusive legislation that will punish everyone to “solve” the problem of distracted driving. For many safe-driving Americans who spend dozens of hours a week on the road, this sort of legislation is incredibly intrusive, oppressive, and unnecessary."

I encourage all to fully appreciate the flawed reasoning by reading the link in question. Driving with a phone on your ear is not a right; Driving is a privilege and should yield to reasonable safety requirements like those JD accuses me of dismissing with distraction.

Quite the opposite it true, but that is not surprising.
Mark House · May 12, 2019 at 7:30 am
An intersection isn't any more responsible for an accident then a gun is, it just depends on the person or people using it. Car or gun, both deadly when in the hands of irresponsible people.
Jim Griffin · May 12, 2019 at 3:44 am
When JohnnyD uses a word like "pork" he means what he means it to mean, just like HumptyDumpty in Alice in Wonderland.
Jim Griffin · May 10, 2019 at 6:29 pm
The Governor tried to get the bill approved, but House Speaker -- Republican Kirk Cox -- ruled it out of order, thinking the effort "not sufficiently relevant":

Nothing whatsoever to do with pork. It was a rider inserted on a safe work zone measure, but Cox thought it insufficiently relevant to the safe work zones.
Tom LaHaye · May 10, 2019 at 4:34 pm
Distracted driving is a huge issue, which is one more reason to have safer roadways. I call the type intersection proposed here a "Michigan Left", as they've been common in the Detroit area for decades, and they work very well at improving traffic flow and enabling drivers to avoid left-hand turns that cross two lanes of traffic in one maneuver.
MissB · May 10, 2019 at 3:58 pm
Maybe they need to install roundabouts on those intersections to give people something to pay attention to and to slow them down.
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