Lack of Traffic Controls Results in Car Accident

    This case involves a driver who was driving through a road work zone where multiple lanes of traffic merged into one with no warnings or controls, despite a police presence. As cars merged into the single lane, a man who was driving a minivan with his family inside was struck by a tractor trailer, causing serious injuries. It was claimed that the traffic controls in place at the site of the merge were insufficient, and that a more significant police presence was required.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. Have you previously served a traffic control function at roadway construction zones? If so, please describe.
    • 2. What rules, regulations, or norms apply to traffic control in such situations? Is there a recommended means by which to merge lanes of traffic?

    Expert Witness Response E-071642

    During my tenure of 20 years as a uniformed police officer in the NYPD I have on numerous occasions performed traffic control duty. The rules of traffic control vary depending on the situation. I would need to review the collaborative effect of the traffic control devices, signage, the element of danger and police presence to determine the best practices. Signs that direct a motorist to prepare to merge should be in place that allows motorists ample time to merge. On faster highways, the preemptive signs to merge should be displayed further forward than slower roadways. I’ve served as a police expert on numerous police use of force cases in the past. While working as a Sergeant in the NYPD Police Academy I was also assigned to the Manhattan Traffic Division where I supervised police officers on traffic control duty where I reviewed vehicle accident reports and the proper placement of police personnel on traffic posts.

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