Traffic Signal Outage in Sacramento Valley and Surrounding Area

Home » Traffic Signal Outage in Sacramento Valley and Surrounding Area
October 10, 2019
Edward Smith

Traffic Light Outage in Sacramento and Surrounding Area

A traffic light warning has been issued for areas of Sacramento Valley and Northern California because of the power outage by PG&E. Officials are saying that there are thousands of signals out in intersections as the second phase of power shutoffs are instituted, mostly in hilly sections around the Bay Area. According to officials with the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and Caltrans, motorists should treat these intersections as four-way stops and use extra caution. The public is being asked to not phone 911 about the outages, or call to see when the power is coming back on.

Traffic Signal Outages

The CHP has reported that so far, there have been no major traffic collisions around Sacramento or the foothills. However, traffic congestion and accidents have occurred. Generators are being used to operate some traffic signals along main roads and highways. However, because generators are gas-powered, this is a temporary fix. Officials with Caltrans are especially concerned about the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians and warns motorists to use extra caution.

Intersection Accidents

Overall, more than 40 percent of accidents occur at intersections. This translates into roughly 2.5 million crashes each year. In addition, 20 percent of all fatalities occur at intersections as do 50 percent of catastrophic accidents. One device has helped with stemming intersection accidents, and that is the use of traffic lights. While some people run red lights or define a yellow light as a signal to speed up, functioning traffic lights are still one of the best ways to control motorists at an intersection. 

Non-Working Traffic Lights

On occasion, a traffic light ceases to function properly, and it is the responsibility of the city or state to fix the problem in a timely fashion. But, what happens when the malfunction is due to electricity being turned off? Since most people take traffic lights for granted, many do not know what to do when they are not working. Technically, the intersection should be treated as a four-way stop. In the current situation, drivers are warned that this might be happening in their area. The problem is that not all drivers will obey the rules of the road that cover four-way stops. By doing this, the driver is acting in a negligent manner and can be held liable for the cost resulting from a crash with another motorist. In addition, the street lights may also not be working, and this adds to the seriousness of the situation. 

How an Attorney Can Help

In situations where traffic lights are non-functioning, resulting in an accident, our firm can help if you are injured. Our investigative team is dispatched to the accident site to determine the cause. In a blackout, we have additional problems to answer, such as who or what caused the blackout. If, as is happening currently, the blackout is due to the electric company cutting power to an area due to a risk of fire, we need to examine how well this event was forewarned.

Next, we need to determine if the driver who caused the accident behaved in a prudent manner and followed the rules of the road. We do this by interviewing witnesses who saw the accident happen. Ordinarily, we usually obtain video footage of the accident from traffic light surveillance cameras or those attached to local businesses. If a blackout occurs, this would not be possible unless there was a battery backup. We also look for other types of evidence and may reconstruct the accident. Once this information is found, we release the data to our legal team, who builds a strong case on our client’s behalf.

Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento car accident lawyer. When you are injured in a car accident, you need the insight an experienced lawyer can provide. I can help you. Call me at (916) 921-6400 in the Sacramento area or (800) 404-5400 throughout Northern California for free and friendly advice. You can also reach out to me online.

Of all the organizations I belong to, I would like to mention the following:

I’ve helped numerous clients obtain the damages they need in all types of car accidents, wrongful death cases and traumatic injuries.

Learn More about my practice on the following pages:

Photo Attribution:

:cd llo [cs 792]