Orne. Responsible for an accident, the young driver takes action to rethink the crossroads

On May 22, 2021, Raphaël (assumed name) did not see a stop sign and his vehicle (on the right) collided with another (on the left), seriously injuring its two occupants. (©DR)

Since this May 22, 2021, Raphaël (loan name) goes over the scene regularly in his head.

How, that day, could he not see the stop line at the intersection of the RD438 and the RD238, on the northern deviation of Sées (Orne) ?

Even if he was taking this road for the first time, how did this young driver “usually so careful”, according to his father, cross the line without even realizing he was crossing a main road?

The grille one stop

That day, the student from Le Havre was transporting friends in his recent Opel Corsa.

The young man of 21, “very religious”, spent a few days around Sées to make a pilgrimage. He and his friends were going to town to get some food. It was 8:30 p.m. “It was shortly before the curfew,” which was introduced at 9 p.m. at the time.

From Macé, the Seinomarin could see the two bell towers of the Sagian cathedral, in front of him.

Collision

To his left, he saw a central reservation. But, believing he was on the right-of-way, he first thought of a left turn. It is actually a stop.

He then noticed the panels but did not see the line on the ground, “badly located”, and especially not very visible because of a slight slope located just before. Thinking that the intersection was located several meters away, Raphaël crossed the RD438, which links Chailloué to Sées, without even applying the brakes.

On the left, the road by which Raphaël arrived to reach the town of Sées. From here, because of the configuration of the place, the stop line on the ground is hardly visible. On the right, the main road on which the markings on the ground are “misleading”. The stop line, “very advanced”, being “almost as thin” as those on the edge of the road. (©DR)

Another car traveling on the priority road, limited to 70 km / h on this portion, then hit that of Raphaël on the front. “Fortunately not in terms of the interior,” says Jérôme, his father. “Otherwise, it could have been much more dramatic. “

Two seriously injured

Thanks to the airbags, Raphael and his shocked friends got out of the vehicle without significant injuries.

However, in the other vehicle, the two passengers were seriously injured. “Unfortunately, a young man had his collarbone broken, and a young woman had a double tibia-fibula fracture,” Jérôme reports.

Raphael and his parents heard about the injured through acquaintances. “We have been told that they are doing well but we do not dare to contact them for fear that it will be badly perceived. This could be completely understood since they were in no way responsible for the accident, ”explains Jérôme.

“He knows he is responsible”

But Raphael often thinks of them. “He is steeped in remorse”, confirms Mostefa Maachi, the mayor of Sées, who received the young man and his mother shortly after the accident.

“It marked him. He had just turned 21, he was very careful on the road, but it happened to him anyway. He feels very annoyed with the victims because he knows he is responsible. “

JeromeYoung driver’s father

Five accidents in ten years

Jérôme was once “angry” with his son.

“At first I wondered how he could have made such a mistake. And then, we saw comments on the internet. Locals who reacted to press articles saying that this crossroads was very dangerous, that there were regular accidents. What the firefighters had already told us and what the mayor repeated to us. There, we started to ask questions. “

Jerome

Over the past ten years, five bodily accidents traffic was recorded at this intersection : one in 2013, two in 2014, one in 2018 and one in 2021. They left four wounded hospitalized and 10 wounded not hospitalized but, fortunately, none killed.

By making the inventory on the spot, the parents understood their son’s mistake.

According to them, the stop line is “hardly visible”. It is “masked by a bump”, “too thin” but also “slightly offset at the level of the aisle markings, and therefore almost on the main road … I am not an expert but this stop line does not really seem to me. regulatory, ”says Jérôme.

“We are not looking for excuses”

Raphaël and his parents do not seek “neither excuses nor to mitigate the fault”. “What happened has happened. It’s like that. There is nothing more we can do about it. The case will be tried in court. “

On the other hand, the family does not intend to let this news item fall into oblivion.

Very quickly, Raphaël and his mother met the mayor to tell him that it was necessary to act, by rearranging this intersection.

This crossroads, at the crossroads of two departmental roads, being under the responsibility of Department of Orne, the one who was then a candidate in the departmental elections in the camp of the outgoing president, contacted Christophe De Balorre.

“He was very attentive to this proposal and requested an emergency study from his services,” assured the mayor of Sées a few days after the accident.

A study in 2022 to improve visibility

Quickly called upon by Mostefa Maachi, the mayor of Sées, who called for the installation of a left turn at the intersection of the road to Macé, the Department carried out an “urgent” study.
This “did not make it possible to confirm the technical feasibility of a development including a special left-turn lane, given the current visibility distances in this crossroads”, indicates the road service, contacted by our care.
“The creation of an additional central lane increases the crossing time of the intersection for vehicles traveling on the RD 238 (Sées-Macé axis)”, justifies the Department, “and requires, theoretically, a visibility distance of 175 m, corresponding to the distance traveled for 9 seconds by a vehicle traveling at 70 km / h ”, the maximum authorized speed when approaching this intersection. “The current visibility for vehicles leaving Sées and stopped at the stops at this intersection are significantly lower. “
However, “additional studies on the possibility of improving visibility in the context of the creation of a left-turn turn will be carried out in 2022.”
The creation of such a development would represent “at least 180,000 € HT of road works, excluding land acquisitions, to widen the road platform and excluding additional works to improve visibility (subject to feasibility). “
The Department recalls, however, that the five traffic accidents observed at this location during the last ten years, “are generally linked to non-compliance with the rules of the Highway Code and the signage put in place”.

Without news

The family could therefore have believed in rapid development.

But seven months later, she was still without news. In December, she therefore rewrote the mayor who, too, has no longer heard of any possible improvements there.

“It shouldn’t drag on too long. At that point, there was no human drama. But what if it was a truck that had arrived in place of one of the two cars? We cannot afford to lose someone for this, when everyone is aware that this crossroads is dangerous. “

Avoiding an even more serious drama

Jérôme and his son pull all the strings to try to get things done.

“It’s quite appalling to see that nothing is happening. We do not live in Sées but we are ready to launch a petition if necessary, to meet the people responsible … Whatever! “

The Le Havre family assures us that a roundabout, “or even a traffic light”, would be the solution.

“We are well aware that this costs money, but it is a choice which could avoid any new, even more dramatic collision and which could save lives”, argues Jérôme.

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