On June 15, 2009, 79-year-old Andrew Cavanaugh was t-boned on the passenger side of his 2004 Buick Century while driving through an intersection and subsequently died from injuries he sustained in the collision. Both Cavanaugh and the driver of the 2003 Toyota Camry that struck him, 71-year-old Jacqueline Stinson, were travelling at the posted speed limit of 25 mph at the time of the accident. The only problem was that the stoplight on Cavanaugh's end of the intersection was timed to require a minimum speed of 30 mph for a driver to safely make it through before the light changed from green to red. Investigators found that Cavanaugh had just three seconds to make it across four lanes of traffic. To make matters worse, he wasn't wearing his seatbelt.

Cavanaugh's daughter, Shanon Baker, has since filed a lawsuit accusing Pinellas County, Florida as holding the blame for her father's death. While the light is maintained by the Pinellas County Highway Department, its duration was calibrated by the Florida Department of Transportation when it was first installed in 1998. Since that time, there have been no other reported incidents as a result of the light's timing, and Pinellas County intends to fight Baker's lawsuit.

[Source: Tampa Bay Online | Image: Horia Varlan, CC 2.0]

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