Bad Roads Cause Accidents
Not every automobile accident is caused by driver error, such as speeding, texting, drinking, inattentiveness, etc. As a recent study found, “often the roads themselves are to blame.” Pavement edge drop-offs (picture, right), bad curves, potholes, poor slope construction, and the like can all cause serious injuries and even death. Pavement edge drop-offs seem to cause some the worst incidents. When a car’s tire drops off one of these edges, a “bounce” can occur, causing the driver to over-correct and oftentimes lose control. We’ve also seen roads built with the wrong slope resulting in excessive water retention and hydroplaning by cars and trucks. You probably know or have heard of an especially dangerous road or stretch of highway yourself.
Those that design, build, and maintain roads have an obligation to do so with safety as the number one priority. We trust them to consider safety first by putting ourselves and our families out on those roads every day. Roads should be designed, constructed, and maintained in a manner that will best protect the public. When they are not because of negligence, or failure to follow design plans and specifications, or failure to correct a known dangerous condition, the individuals responsible for the defects should be held accountable, just as you and I would be if we make a mistake that injures another.
Last fall, a Clarke County jury returned a $7.5 million verdict on behalf of a family we represented who lost three brothers to a road defect on Highway 84 between Grove Hill and Coffeeville, Alabama. The proof at trial indicated that the contractor had not followed the design specifications by using less asphalt than required, and had built the road too narrow and with an improper slope. These conditions caused a significant pavement edge drop-off, which caused the driver to lose control and strike an oncoming tractor-trailer. It was a heart-wrenching case that should not have happened. Hopefully, the verdict sends a message that roads must be built safely and that design plans must be followed without cutting corners.
Defective roads are serious problems in Alabama, Mississippi, and throughout the country. The study mentioned above indicates that 100 people die every day on our nation’s roadways and that many of those fatalities are caused by bad roads. We’ll continue to represent those harmed by those roads, but in the meantime, there are efforts being made to address the problems. Let’s hope for and encourage their success.