Friday, November 9, 2007

Yellow means ‘go faster’

Leave it to Chief Judge Joseph F. Murphy Jr. to keep it real at the Court of Special Appeals, even when the court goes on a road trip to one of the state’s law schools, as it did on Thursday.

Murphy livened up the argument about whether a driver who was rear ended was partially responsible for the damage because he stopped short at a yellow light.

A jury had found both drivers negligent, which of course meant the plaintiff couldn’t recover. The attorney defending that verdict seemed to be hemming and hawing his way around the proper way to say that many drivers tend to speed up for yellow lights.

Murphy was less subtle:

“Let’s just all take judicial notice of the way human beings drive through a yellow light,” he interrupted, which sent the moot courtroom at University of Maryland School of Law into waves of laughter.

Funny because it’s true — most people I know get a lead foot around yellow lights, but it can lead to an accident when the person in front of you does the opposite.

Is contributory negligence the answer?

-LIZ FARMER, Legal Writer


Anonymous said...

i feel that a cautious person who doesnt want to take achance of speeding thru a yellow light due to whatever conditions... should in fact not be held negligent... this in my mind is an unfair judgement of a cautious person and someone who rearends them due to there own lack of self control and patience should be held responsible!!!

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to know if the light in question was one of the lights with a red-light camera and a notoriously short yellow light. In that case, the person who "stopped short" might just be aware of the actual conditions.

In my experience, there is at least one light in Baltimore where once it turns yellow you must stop immediately because, based upon the intersection and the length of the yellow, there's no way you can speed through and not get a red light ticket.