Road Design & Maintenance

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Law Topics >  Injuries > Road Design & Maintenance

Automobile accidents are not always due to driver error. Unfortunately, flaws in the design of a road or highway or improper maintenance of a roadway often contribute to serious mishaps. Defective conditions beyond a driver's control cause unnecessary fatalities every year. The nation's roadways are controlled by federal, state and local municipalities. The governments are in charge of safely designing thousands of miles of roads under their jurisdiction as well as properly maintaining them.

One of the most important features road designers must consider is adequate warning of a potential hazard. Drivers must have sufficient time to react to an impending danger such as a construction zone, certain weather conditions and merging traffic. Obstacles such as potholes, utility poles and trees must also be addressed. Often, maintenance procedures, especially ones using tar, leave a slippery oil substance that is extremely dangerous to motorists during severe heat and wet conditions.

Municipalities are responsible for marking upcoming dangerous conditions with visible signs. Curving roads requiring slower speeds, animal crossings, no pass zones, shoulder reductions and slower speed advisories need to be clearly marked to prevent accidents. Constant information, often through radio broadcasts, needs to be supplied to ensure that motorists will not be surprised by any approaching road defects.

Roads should be constructed with lanes at least 10 feet wide. Roadways designed with lesser widths are a hazard to motorists because maneuverability within the lane becomes restricted. Roadways not repaved within ten years may also pose a danger, especially in severe weather conditions.

Federal, state and local municipalities have an obligation to keep our nation's roadways safe. Oversights, however, do occur and injuries and deaths are the unfortunate result. Experienced attorneys familiar with road design litigation are available to assist victims of road design accidents.

If you have been injured because of a defective roadway, it may be important to contact an attorney who can help you protect your legal rights. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits within which you must commence suit.