Dumb and Dangerous Driving - February 22, 2007

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It's a stop sign where officers say you don't always have to stop...and confusion is leading to congestion.

The intersection at the North Augusta Publix off Martintown Road is confusing. There's a stop sign right before the light leading to Martintown Road.

Some are stopping at the sign no matter what, and some disregard it altogether.

And that is creating a bit of a traffic jam.

We spotted one woman who couldn't get out because drivers were blocking her in.

The exact same thing happened to David Pooler, causing him to run late.

"It's not good, because all my appointments," he said. "I got to try to be on time, and traffic does play a part in it."

The stop sign is there to keep drivers from blocking people in the parking lot to the right when the light turns red.

But Dan Bradshaw says it's not that simple.

"Traffic can get pretty thick back here," he said.

Here's the root of the problem. The light is only about 40 feet away from the stop sign, and people are doing all sorts of things: disregarding the stop sign no matter what, stopping no matter what, or going through when they have a green.

"I just go on through it," one driver said.

"I run the stop sign," said Bruce Jones. He says it's the only way to make the light.

Officer John Rutland of North Augusta Public Safety clarified the matter for us. He says technically, you're always supposed to stop. But in this case, the city says the light supersedes the sign.

That means if you run it when the light is green, he'll let it slide...but if you run it with a red and cause a wreck, he will write you up for disregarding a signal. That's $128.75 and four points on your license.

"We're having problems with cars getting congested," he said. "There's a sign underneath that says 'Do not block the intersection.'"

"When there's an intersection backed up, what are you going to do?" Pooler asked.

And the answer seems to be that all you can do is wait.

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