Boulevard Rule Law and Legal Definition

Boulevard rule is a principle in traffic law. It states that the driver of a vehicle entering a highway from a smaller road or entrance must stop and yield the right of way to all oncoming highway traffic. This rule is applicable mostly in road accident cases. The court has to determine whether a driver is negligent in causing a collision, due to his/her breach of duty of care imposed by the boulevard rule on the unfavored driver. In the U.S., New York and Maryland are the two states that follow boulevard rule.

Courts have long recognized that the Boulevard Rule's purpose is to "promote the free flow of traffic on main thoroughfares" and to ensure the safety of drivers.[Palenchar v. Jarrett, 507 F. Supp. 2d 502, 509 (D. Md. 2007)]

Under Maryland Vehicle Law, the Boulevard Rule states as follows:

Md. TRANSPORTATION Code Ann. § 21-403 . Vehicle entering stop or yield intersection or through highway

(a) Signs authorized. -- Preferential right-of-way at an intersection may be indicated by stop signs or yield signs placed in accordance with the Maryland Vehicle Law.

(b) Stopping at entrance to through highway. -- If the driver of a vehicle approaches a through highway, the driver shall:

(1) Stop at the entrance to the through highway; and

(2) Yield the right-of-way to any other vehicle approaching on the through highway.

(c) Stopping in obedience to stop signs. -- If a stop sign is placed at the entrance to an intersecting highway, even if the intersecting highway is not part of a through highway, the driver of a vehicle approaching the intersecting highway shall:

(1) Stop in obedience to the stop sign; and

(2) Yield the right-of-way to any other vehicle approaching on the intersecting highway.

(d) Approaching intersection marked by yield sign. -- If a "yield" sign facing the driver of a vehicle is placed on the approach to an intersection, the driver shall:

(1) Approach the intersection with caution;

(2) Yield the right-of-way to any other vehicle approaching on the other highway; and

(3) If necessary, stop in order to yield this right-of-way.