Appeal from the Circuit Court for Baltimore County; Lindsay, J.
Brune, C. J., and Henderson, Hammond, Prescott and Marbury, JJ. Henderson, J., delivered the opinion of the Court.
Herman A. Breeback, an employee of the State Roads Commission, was struck by an automobile and injured while working on Belair Road at about 9:30 A. M. in a drizzling rain. He had been brought to the place of the accident in a State Roads' truck, which parked in the south-bound lane next to
the shoulder. Belair Road is a four-lane highway, with two lanes, twelve feet wide, in each direction. The employees were using the tailgate of the truck as a bench to repair damaged guard rails which had been knocked down over the weekend. Breeback had his back turned to the oncoming traffic.
Schutz testified he was driving south on Belair Road, from 25 to 40 feet behind a cattle truck in the right or slow lane. He did not see the parked State Roads' truck until the cattle truck pulled left to pass it. He applied his brakes, but his car skidded sideways on the wet surface, striking Breeback and another worker and the tailgate. On the other hand, there was testimony that there was no cattle truck involved, but that Schutz skidded 300 feet.
There was testimony that a "Men Working" sign had been placed by the foreman at a point 300 feet from the parked truck. Two other employees testified it was placed on the shoulder alongside the slow lane, south-bound. One employee testified it was on the line separating the two south-bound lanes. Schutz testified he did not see any "Men Working" sign prior to the accident, but admitted seeing it afterwards. There was a difference in testimony as to whether the road was straight or curved at that point, but Schutz admitted the road was straight for about 200 feet from the point of impact.
During the trial the appellant offered in evidence a chart of "Speed and Stopping Distances" incorporated in a pamphlet prepared and published by the Department of Motor Vehicles, but the court excluded it.
The jury found a verdict for the plaintiff. On appeal, the only points pressed are the rulings of the court in regard to the effect of the location of the warning sign, and the exclusion of the chart above mentioned.
The appellant offered in evidence a manual of Traffic Control Devices of the Maryland State Roads Commission. After specifying the size of a "Men Working" sign, it is provided that this "sign shall be placed approximately three hundred and fifty feet from each end of the point where the men are at work, in the center of the road unless the width of pavement is less than twenty feet, or poor shoulders or other conditions
make this inadvisable." It also provides that the sign "should be moved forward as the work progresses so that there is at no time a distance of more than one thousand feet between the sign and the workmen."
The appellant offered a prayer that if the plaintiff knew that the sign had not been "placed in the center of Belair Road as required by State Roads Regulations", and "if the Jury shall find from the evidence that failure to place said sign in the middle of Belair Road caused or contributed to the happening of this accident, then the Plaintiff, in working at the rear of said truck, under said conditions, was guilty of contributory negligence, or assumed the risk of said accident, and the verdict of the Jury must be for the Defendant." He objected to the refusal to grant the prayer, and also to the charge that "even if you find that the foreman who was in charge of this gang of which the plaintiff was a member did not place that sign in conformity with regulations of the State Roads Commission, that cannot be held against the plaintiff in this case who was a subordinate employee * * *." The court indicated that the appellant's ...