Dumb and Dangerous Driving - February 8, 2007

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A problem intersection means problems for students in Columbia County.

A number of drivers are running red lights at North Belair Road and Fury's Ferry, near two schools.

This is an area with lots of kids. We have Riverside Middle School on one side and Appletree Academy on the other. And you're not going to believe who we caught flying through this light.

A school bus turned in front of oncoming traffic, and then another one sped up to make the left as the light turned red.

Mother Lisa Hill sees this kind of driving all the time.

"Only a handful of people I've seen actually yield," she told News 12. "They're in such a hurry, they just bolt out in front of you."

The law says you're supposed to yield to the people going straight. That means staying out of the intersection when you have a red. That's why Lt. Andrew Shedd of the Columbia County Sheriff's Office says he writes left-turners a ticket.

"Anytime you run a red, you take on the risk and possibility that an accident will occur, and you could be found at fault for failure to yield," he said.

But that didn't stop another school bus, followed by a car, then a red truck.

Lisa brought the issue to the county, and now they're taking action.

"The car making the left delays the movement, and once he turns, the people behind have a tendency to push through the light rather than being safe," explained road construction engineer Ronnie Hutto of Traffic Engineering.

Hutto says timing is part of the problem.

Fury's Ferry gets more traffic than North Belair / Mulikin Road, which means drivers have less time to make it through. Couple that with no arrow, and it can make for a pretty scary ride to school.

"I had a guy pull out unexpectedly, and I had to slam on my brakes, and she's like, 'Mommy, where did that car come from?' And it's getting worse," Lisa said.

To keep it from getting worse, the county is talking to DOT to add left turn arrows.

Deputies say the law does not specify whether you can turn on yellow or red once you're out in the intersection...that's up to the deputy. So your best bet is to stop on the white line.

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