It is with great pleasure that I report to my fair readers that the Georgia Court of Appeals has affirmed a $1.3 Million wrongful death verdict against the Georgia DOT. The case, Baldwin v. DOT, involved the Georgia DOT’s failure to notice and fix a stop sign that was down for a length of time between two weeks and two months. The stop sign was supposed to be up at an intersection in Meriwhether County, Georgia at which one road had no traffic-control devices at all, and the cross-street was supposed to be controlled by the stop sign. You can readily imagine what happened. Mrs. Baldwin was driving down the road at which the stop sign was down on the ground, the intersection appeared to her to have no traffic control devices for her direction of travel and she continued on into the intersection. Unfortunately, another car was coming down the road she was crossing and struck Mrs. Baldwin’s car and killed her.
There was expert testimony that the DOT was required to do a weekly drive-through inspection of this intersection. One of the purposes of this inspection was to discover if a stop sign was down. The witnesses’ testimony showed that the DOT failed to discover the downed stop sign for at least two weeks and maybe as long as two months. The DOT’s failure to perform their duties caused the death of Mrs. Baldwin. I understand that prior to the trial, the DOT offered only $100,000.00 to settle the death claim.
Now, I ask you, as citizens of the State of Georgia: What was the DOT thinking? This is a sign of a severely broken DOT. The Georgia motoring public relies on the DOT to perform its job to keep the roads in Georgia safe and, as shown in Baldwin, are failing miserably. How many more Georgia citizens have to die before the Georgia DOT finally takes notice and starts doing its job?