A Google Maps view of the accident site shows a non-standard sign at the T-intersection instead of a required, Checkerboard sign.

Lack of conformity to standard signage and geometric design of roads can lead to tragedies like the one that occurred on Saturday, October 6, 2018 near Scholarie, New York. Twenty persons died when a limo passed through the T-intersection of Highway 30 and 30A and plowed into an embankment.

A Google Maps view of the site (shown above) indicates that a standard, Checkerboard sign that is required at the termination points of roadways, was not installed at the time of the Google Maps imagery. It is not known whether that lack of signage was corrected since the time of the Google imagery and before this crash. Unfortunately all the reports about the crash failed to include any relevant photographs that would confirm or deny that this problem existed.

The Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) is a document that has been adhered to throughout North America in terms of its guidelines for the proper types and locations of standardized signs. The standardization of such signage is absolutely critical so that drivers from all parts of North America can visit various regions and drive safely throughout the highway systems of the continent.

An excerpt page from the MUTCD is shown below outlining the requirement of the Checkerboard sign.

When vehicles approach a T-intersection from a down grade the requirement to provide additional warning of the termination of a road is absolutely essential. Regardless of the posted speed of a road, vehicles may be travelling faster on such a down grade because of the effect of the acceleration due to gravity. Rumble strips on the pavement or additional signage such as the duplication of a stop sign can help to warn drivers of the road’s termination. It is noted at the site of the limo crash that only a single stop sign was posted while in many such instances stop signs are placed on both sides of the road in case one of the signs becomes blocked from view (i.e. by large or tall traffic).