How Road and Infrastructure Improvements Can Reduce Truck Accidents in Texas
There are many causes of truck accidents in Texas. While not all can be effectively addressed, one of the most basic improvements to truck safety is the quality of roads and infrastructures on which they travel. When bad roads or structures are legally responsible for causing a truck accident, injury victims have a legal claim against the local or state entity which failed to maintain the road. Learn more about the legal rights of truck accident victims, and what local and state governments should be doing to keep the roads of Texas safe for all drivers.
Why the United States Has So Many Traffic Fatalities
Trucks.com reports that the United States has nearly the highest number of traffic fatalities among all high-income nations. Research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reveals that, while Sweden and the United Kingdom each experience fewer than three fatalities per 100,000 residents, the United States is more than three times higher, at 10.6 traffic fatalities per 100,000 residents.
While there are many causes of car accidents, and human error continues to be a leading factor, the design and maintenance of roadways can significantly reduce the number of fatal collisions across America. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety identified six changes with the greatest potential to reduce both the likelihood and impact of traffic accidents. They include: (1) converting traditional intersections into roundabouts in order to reduce right-angle collisions; (2) improving roadsides by removing debris, installing barriers, and improving side slopes, (3) adding and improving pedestrian crossings; (4) expanding median barriers on divided highways; (5) installing rumble strips to alert drivers who leave their travel lane; and (6) widening and paving roadway shoulders to both offer safe refuge to stranded motorists and allow easier access for first responders.
The High Cost of Doing Nothing
Road maintenance, improvements, and upgrades can be a difficult issue for local politicians to tackle. It is not an issue which is particularly glamorous, and it gets relatively little media attention. Furthermore, traffic accidents happen every day, and they generally do not spur constituents to grassroots advocacy the way more tragic or dramatic issues do. But the fact remains that deaths do occur as a result of poor infrastructure design and maintenance.
Cities, counties, states, and other local governments can be sued for injuries sustained in traffic accidents caused by bad roadways. These lawsuits are paid by taxpayer funds, which ideally would be better spent with proactive measures that make the roads safer for everyone. Unfortunately, many government agencies don't take action on this front until they are forced with litigation. Claims against the government - whether federal, state or local - often adhere to more stringent requirements, and claimants must often overcome defense arguments of sovereign immunity. The Texas Tort Claims Act determines when a governmental entity may be liable for tortious conduct under state law. Damages for claims against government agencies in Texas are capped at $250,000 per person and $500,000 per incident.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, it is important to contact an experienced El Paso truck accident attorney as soon as possible. Your legal rights can be affected by any statements you make without counsel, or any delays in filing the appropriate legal claims. It is also important to determine any contributing causes - such as poor roadway structure - so that all parties who are legally responsible for causing the accident can be identified.