When monitoring social media reaction to fatal traffic crashes at highway intersections, a pattern emerges.
Immediately, expressions of sorrow and calls for prayer begin. Those expressions soon are accompanied about questions seeking specifics before a debate over the dangerous nature of the roadway and typically will include pleas for a traffic signal. The conversation eventually devolves into open criticism of highway engineers challenging everything from their intelligence to family lineage.
A double fatality recently at the intersection of Bacon Creek Road and Ring Road claimed the lives of an Upton couple. By the time police cleared the crash scene, online opinions were flying.
None quoted facts later provided by the Transportation Cabinet’s spokesman from the local district highway office.
This was the first fatal wreck at the intersection since that segment of Ring Road opened seven years earlier. It has been the scene of 23 collisions — 11 of which have resulted in injury, the statistics show.
The fact that anyone dies in a preventable highway collision is unfortunate and sad. People are right to be concerned and react. If an intersection could be made safer resulting in fewer injuries that needs to be evaluated and prioritized.
The highway department has a protocol for evaluating such things, including a mathematical means for determining if a traffic signal is justified. It’s supposed to take the guesswork out and ensure decisions are objective.
The highway department has agreed to re-evaluate the intersection but it’s been pointed out that large stop signs already hang alongside Bacon Creek Road and the police determination of what caused the SUV-tractor trailer wreck likely will come into play.
Maybe another J-turn such as those recently installed along U.S. 31W in Radcliff is a viable idea.
Regardless, our rush to judgment on these matters should be tempered. It would be nice to spend a little more time responding with heads bowed and be quite a bit slower to point fingers.
In the future, can we as a community commit to let the family sort through such an emotional, heart-wrenching experience before launching into a full-scale series of accusations devoid of details?