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“Smart Highway” Signs Outsmarting Drivers

As a personal injury attorney Seattle, I’ve been reading news reports about the new activated “Smart Highway” safety signs.  The Department of Transportation has been trying to educate the public about the new highway safety system in anticipation of it’s launch on August 11th.  However, it seems that not everyone reads the newspaper or watches the news at night because there still seems to be a bit of confusion arising.

The new traffic safety system which is only one of two in the entire country, aims at controlling speeds on the highway.  If there is an accident ahead, the signs will infom the drivers to slow down way before they come upon the accident in order to avoid what they call “panic braking.”  The speed limit that is posted on the signs stretching across the freeway represent the legal speed limit, even if it differs from that posted on static signs on the side of the highway.  “You can be cited by the State Patrol for speeding,” claims WSDOT official Patty Rubstello in this article from King5.

What seems to be confusing drivers is the fact that the HOV lanes may have a faster speed limit marked than general lanes.  If a car accident occurs in the far right lane, the right lanes will likely have slower posted speeds than those in the left-most lanes.  Rubstello also informs, “When the overhead signs are blank, the side mounted signs will display the 60mph speed limit just like our standard signs today.”  Out of 150 people polled, 42 % claimed they found the signs to be confusing.