- Free Consultations / No Fees Until We Win
- (213) 927-3700
Personal Injury Firm
Results from a 14-year study in Minnesota revealed that stop lines – the thick white bars painted ahead of intersections— in fact do little to prevent crashes or influence driver behavior. Conducted by the Minnesota Local Road Research Board, the study examined crash and traffic data from a few suburbs from 2004 to 2018, including video clips from 16 intersections both before and after the installation of a stop line.
Stop lines are between one and two feet wide and are traditionally used at intersections with poor visibility to keep drivers from rolling their cars beyond the curb to look around the corner. They’re also used in conjunction with stop signs and crosswalks, and in places where it’s not obvious where a vehicle should stop.
The results reportedly showed that stop lines “showed no association with crash occurrence,” and were useful in decreasing accidents only occasionally, in conjunction with other factors, “especially the presence of a painted crosswalk.” The lines were just as unhelpful in keeping drivers from pulling their cars too far into intersections. According to an analysis of video footage, drivers tended to stop on or up to 10 feet past the location of the stop line, both before and after installation.
The researchers wrote: “It is reliably determined that the more space there is between the stop line and the absolute edge of the conflicting driving lane, the more drivers ignore the stop line and push forward.”
Moreover, while the study results found that stop lines alone did not reduce crashes, researchers did note that the bars were somewhat effective at getting drivers to reduce their speed while approaching an intersection—even if they still didn’t stop entirely.
The report further read: “Although there was no significant effect observed between the presence of a stop line and the decision of drivers to come to a complete stop instead of performing a ‘rolling’ stop, the presence of the stop line reduced the roll speed for some vehicles. In most cases, the extreme high speeds were greatly reduced.”
Then, based on those findings, the report concluded: stop lines may not be the most effective method of influencing drivers’ behaviors. Researchers also noted that their hope is that their findings will be used as a reference for city planners and engineers when considering placement of a stop line at one or many intersections.
Vehicles running through an intersection, failing to yield at a crosswalk pedestrian, and turning at an intersection are some of the most common types of pedestrian accidents in the city of Los Angeles.
Failing to stop at stop lines can also potentially lead to head-on car crashes. A report from 2017 found that head-on collisions were the second most common type of collisions in the country, with 10.1% being fatal. Frontal impacts accounted for 56% of passenger vehicle occupant deaths in 2018. These types of accidents often occur as a result of mechanical failure or a driver’s negligence, such as when a driver ends up on the wrong side of the road, is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or is distracted.