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I am a Georgia attorney who represents people who have been injured in
car wrecks, and so I was very interested in a recent article in
The article named the most dangerous intersections in cities around North
Fulton, including Roswell, Alpharetta, Johns Creek and Milton. The newspaper
took a look at the number of car accidents that occurred in each intersection
in 2011, and drew up a list of the intersections that had the largest
number of car crashes overall.

Overall, Milton intersections had fewer accidents than Roswell, Alpharetta,
or Johns Creek. That finding is not surprising, since Milton has fewer
people than the other three cities do, and consequently has much less
traffic than Roswell, Alpharetta and Johns Creek have.

Roswell is the largest of the four cities. According to the
2010 Census, Roswell had 88,347 people in 2010. Milton had only a little more than
a third of that population, recording 32,661 people within the city limits.
Alpharetta and Johns Creek fell between Roswell and Milton in terms of
population. Johns Creek was the second largest city, with a population
of 76,727. Alpharetta’s population came in at 57,551 people.

The newspaper cited two intersections in Milton as being worse than the
others in the city. 14 accidents occurred where Providence Road meets
Highway 372. The newspaper believed the danger came from the fact that
the roads meet at an angle, and are offset slightly. To make matters worse,
the intersection sits on a hill. Starting in March or April of 2012, the
city does plan to work on a roundabout that will run traffic around the
intersection, rather than directly through it.

The newspaper felt that the other most dangerous intersection – at
Bethany Bend and Highway 9 – had a similar problem. The roads do
not meet at right angles, but are skewed. The city has asked for a grant
from the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) in order to study
what can be done about the intersection.

If someone is injured or killed in the intersection, then the insurance
of the person who caused the wreck should compensate the victim. (However,
that insurance may not be enough to fully compensate the person who was
injured, or the family of the person who was killed.) In some circumstances,
the city also may be liable. Under Georgia law:

“[M]unicipalities generally have a ministerial duty to keep their
streets in repair, and they are liable for injuries resulting from defects
after actual notice, or after the defect has existed for a sufficient
length of time for notice to be inferred.” Bush v. City of Gainesville,
105 Ga. App. 381, 383 (124 SE2d 667) (1962).

Roquemore v. City of Forsyth, 617 S.E.2d 644, 274 Ga.App. 420 [21] (2005).

A Georgia statute codifies this point, albeit in reverse form. According
to the law, a city cannot be held liable if 1) “it has not been
negligent in constructing or maintaining” a roadway, or 2) “it
has no actual notice” of a problem with the roadway. The statute
does allow the court to infer that the city knew about the problem if
the problem “existed for a sufficient length of time.”
O.C.G.A. § 32-4-93(a).