Contractors’ indifference endangers the lives of drivers and passengers

Major projects currently in progress impede traffic, frequently endangering the lives of drivers and passengers. Trying a case where a car driver lost his life in a head-on collision with another vehicle, the Supreme Court made a clear ruling: «The contractor responsible for a public project on a road must take the necessary measures so that cars can pass safely.» The appeals court found the contractor guilty of manslaughter through negligence due to serious omissions and sentenced him to 19 months’ imprisonment (with three years’ suspension). The court found «he had not placed an illuminated signal at the entry to the detour and 500 meters before it to warn drivers of the detour and the narrowing of the road, given that it was dark and the road was slippery, nor had he removed the existing double dividing line before starting work. If someone driving in the traffic lane did not turn slightly to the right but continued in his course, he would enter the lane of traffic coming from the opposite direction.» The contractor had simply placed a sign reading «Beware detour» 300 meters before the entry to the detour, a sign indicating «60 kph,» and signs with arrows showing a change of direction at the beginning of the detour. The Supreme Court decision (320/2003) notes that «through lack of due care, which the average sensible and responsible person is obliged to take in the same circumstances by the law, experience and logic, the contractor did not foresee the punishable outcome caused by his action.» Emphasizing prevention, the Supreme Court also noted that through personal experience and ability the contractor could have foreseen and avoided the death of the other person.