Stop Sign Means Stop… and Yield (NY)

Most drivers recognize that stopping at a stop sign is not the full extent of a driver’s responsibility.  Before proceeding, a driver must also make sure that it is safe to do so.  However, there are those who don’t understand the concept of yield to right of way.

In Briggs v. Russo, the plaintiff was traveling down a street governed by a stop sign. The defendant was traveling down a street unencumbered by stop signs. The parties collided in the intersection.

The defendant was granted summary judgment on the basis that the plaintiff stopped at the sign but failed to yield the right-of-way to the defendant’s approaching vehicle. The Second Department upheld the decision, finding that the plaintiff’s failure to yield the right-of-way after stopping was a violation of Vehicle and Traffic Law 1142(a) and was negligence as a matter of law.

Further, the appellate court held the plaintiff’s statements that she stopped but did not see any oncoming vehicle did not create an issue of fact. In fact, the court found that a driver is negligent when they fail to see that which, through proper use of senses, should have been seen.

Thank you to Georgia Stagias for her contribution.

For more information, contact Denise Fontana Ricci at