Private Roads are No Place for Common Sense

A new Arizona law would make it a requirement for Arizona school busses to stop at private road stop signs and flash warning lights.

The law was prompted because a child was killed in 2008 when she was struck by a truck after exiting a school bus. The bus wasn’t using warning lights because it was on a private road.

This law highlights an interesting aspect of personal injury law.  Sometimes flaws in laws open the way for liability to be avoided or minimized.

When an unfortunate event happens, victims have several options for seeking compensation.  They can focus on the wrongdoer, the companies associated (maybe the car maker or the business owners), or they can focus on governments for being negligent.  But, liability can be avoided through vagueness within the law.

It seems like there wouldn’t be ambiguity as to whether children should be kept safe.   But the lack of clarity was found to be dangerous oversight in the law.   The distinction comes from how the law views and treats private roads.

Private roads are typically maintained by private citizens or companies.  No trespassing signs could surround the road.  The roads may have limited signs or speed limits postings. These inconsistencies can lead to the confusion that can lead to drivers making incorrect choices.

Even a basic safety law is up for question as to whether it would apply on such a road. The clarification removes any chance that someone could infer that the traditional law did not apply.

With the new law a bus driver that neglects to use warning lights or the stop sign can be fined $250 dollars for the first offense.  Hopefully, the law will help avoid future tragedies.