Drivers Ignoring "No Turn Zone" in Sulphur

February 28, 2007
Reported By: Lee Peck

After years of congestion at the intersection of City Service Highway and Dubach Street, the State Department of Transportation has made it illegal for northbound traffic to make a left turn.

"The southbound entrance into Wal-Mart is basically closed to northbound traffic," said Sulphur Police Chief Chris Abraham. Still drivers continue to make left hand turns. Chief Abraham says in the past few weeks it has been the cause of several wrecks, including a deadly accident Tuesday night.

"A young girl made an illegal left hand turn into the south bound parking lot area and turned in front of a motorcycle, fatally injuring the young gentleman on the motorcycle," said Abraham.

The sign has only been up a month and clearly says stay right, no left turn. But as you can see drivers continue to go around ignoring the warning.

In a matter of two minutes our camera caught more than 15 drivers make the illegal turn. Each was stopped and given a verbal warning.

"Their number one excuse, was they've been driving that way for years and it's just habit," said Sulphur Patrol Captain Lane Matte. "And Wal-Mart has been here for over 10 years and those people have been making the turn for those many years and just don't notice the signs."

"It was more or less a habit. It's just real, really real to turn there to get to Wal-Mart," said motorist Dorothy Stephens.

Others said they just didn't notice the change had been made. "There is a sign, I just never noticed it. I think it is on a bucket or a drum. If you are not careful and the way traffic is coming at you, you are not paying attention to something stuck right in the middle of the street as you would a traffic light," said motorist Bonnie Thompson.

Chief Abraham says they are working to make the new no turning zone more obvious to motorists. "We are going to try and put some type of barricade up on the double yellow line," said Chief Abraham.

Meanwhile Tuesday night's fatal accident remains under investigation with no citations issued yet. Chief Abraham says officers will continue to give verbal warnings, but says if the problem persists they will have to start issuing tickets.