Baldwin & Briscoe P.C.
301-862-4400
22335 Exploration Drive Ste. 2030
Lexington Park, MD 20653
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Maryland’s Boulevard Rule

 

            When we see clients with automobile accident cases, one issue that we see on a regular basis relates to Maryland’s Boulevard Rule.  The Boulevard Rule was explained by the Maryland Court of Appeals like this: “the duty of the unfavored driver to yield the right of way extends to traffic on the whole of the favored highway, and the driver on the favored highway has the right to assume that he will do so.”   Dunnill v. Bloomberg, 228 Md. 230, 234 (1962).  In addition, the fact that the defendant cannot see clearly because his view is obstructed does not excuse his duty under the rule.  To the contrary, it requires the defendant to exercise additional caution.

            The Boulevard Rule is really just common sense.  To describe it another way the rule requires that “when a vehicle attempts to turn or cross a through highway, it must stop and yield the way to all traffic already in or which may enter the intersection during the entire time the [vehicle] encroaches upon the right of way of that traffic.” Grady v. Brown, 408 Md. 182, 194 (2009).  It can essentially be summed up like this: “look both ways and don’t pull out until its safe to do so.”  If you misjudge and pull out and get hit, you are at fault, even if you didn’t see the other car coming.

            So what is a through highway?  The Maryland Code defines a through highway as “a highway or part of a highway (1) on which vehicular traffic is given the right of way; and (2) at the entrances to which vehicular traffic from intersecting highways is required by law to yield the right of ways to vehicles on that highway or part of a highway, in obedience to either a stop sign or yield sign, placed as provided in the Maryland Vehicle Law.”

            The purpose of the Boulevard Rule is to discourage interference with the flow of traffic, by allowing travelers on preferred routes to proceed, within the speed limit, without interruption.  When the boulevard rule applies, the court can find that the favored driver can be entitled to judgment on liability as a matter of law.  This means that in such cases, it will be up to the judge, not the jury to determine fault, and if the facts are that one car was on the preferred route, they will not be found at fault.

            When a driver is on a boulevard, the driver does not have a duty to check for traffic entering onto the boulevard.  Instead, that driver has the right to assume that any traffic approaching the boulevard will stop, and wait until the way is clear before entering or crossing over the boulevard.  The driver approaching the boulevard, has a duty to stop, check for traffic and may not proceed until it is clear to do so.  The approaching driver’s duty to stop and yield to favored drivers continues until he successfully crosses over the boulevard, or turns onto the boulevard and successfully enters into the flow of traffic.

            Despite the Boulevard Rule, drivers are still required to exercise due care and use common sense, even though it is presumed that drivers approaching the boulevard will stop.  If the favored driver could have avoided the accident, he may lose the case, even when he had the right of way under the boulevard rule. 

            The Boulevard Rule has exceptions where the driver on the boulevard is approaching the intersection unlawfully or is contributorily negligent.  So, for instance, if a defendant driver is coming over the crest of a hill at twice the speed limit and into the intersection as the plaintiff is crossing, the rule may not apply. 

            At Baldwin, Briscoe & Steinmetz, P.C., we handle all types of automobile accident and personal injury cases.  If you have been in an accident, we invite you to come in and meet with an attorney at no cost or obligation.  We do not charge any attorney’s fees in personal injury cases unless we recover money for you.  You may be responsible for costs regardless of whether a recovery is made.

            For more information about making a personal injury claim, click here.

 

The Law Offices of Baldwin, Briscoe & Steinmetz, P.C. also offers these services:

Bankruptcy and ForeclosureBusiness LawCivil LitigationCriminal DefenseEmployment, Disability, and Consumer RightsFamily LawGovernment Contracts LawIntellectual Property, Personal InjuryReal Estate, Social Security Disability & Workers’ Compensation and Wills, Trusts, & Estates

Contact Us

The Law Offices of Baldwin, Briscoe & Steinmetz, P.C.

22335 Exploration Drive

Suite 2030

Lexington Park, MD 20653

301-862-4400 Phone

301-862-3009 Fax

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Our Attorneys

Samuel C.P. Baldwin, Jr., Esq.

Janice Briscoe, Esq.

Richard J. Steinmetz Jr., Esq.

David J. Hebb, Esq.

Sandra Kaufman Jonasen, Esq.


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With an office conveniently located in Lexington Park, The Law Offices of Baldwin, Briscoe & Stienmetz, P.C. serves clients in the counties and cities of Lexington Park, Leonardtown, Hollywood, Mechanicsville, Loveville, Helen, Breton Bay, Chaptico, Charlotte Hall, Golden Beach, Avenue, La Plata, Waldorf, Newburg, Port Tobacco, Port Charles, Solomons Island, Prince Frederick, Chesapeake Shores, Hughesville, Benedict, Nanjemoy, Lusby, Port Republic, St. Mary's County, Charles County, Calvert County, Prince George's County, Southern Maryland.


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