Trucking Accident Risk Increases With Roadway Infrastructure Backlog
The risk of a trucking accident is higher on roads that are poorly designed and maintained. That's why the latest report from TRIP, a D.C.-based national transportation research group, is so troubling.
What researchers have concluded is that the U.S. has a $740 billion backlog in infrastructure spending just to get our national network of crumbling roads, bridges and highways to a safe and acceptable place.
The study, entitled revealed the condition of our roads expected to deteriorate even more rapidly as the rate of vehicle travel increases, while state and local governments are unable to produce enough capital to fully cover the road repairs. The $740 billion shortfall was tallied with figures from the American Association of Highway Safety and Transportation Officials, plus U.S. and state-level bridge and road condition information.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has reported that 19 percent of Texas roads and bridges are either structurally deficient or inadequate. Another 38 percent are in either poor or mediocre condition. It would take $5.27 billion - or $343 per motorist - to bring our roads to an acceptable level and reduce the risk of a Texas trucking accident.
A lack of funding at nearly every level - federal, state and local - is the primary reason, researchers say. Plus, the degradation of the roads has perhaps never been so fast. Travel by motor vehicle has inched up in the last 15 years by 15 percent. Meanwhile, travel by commercial truck increased 26 percent between 2000 and 2014. What's more, between now and 2030, travel by heavy trucks is expected to balloon by 72 percent.
Officials say that now that overall travel has not only returned to levels seen before the recession - but is increasing even more - it becomes even more imperative to find a way to ensure roads are in good condition.
From an injury lawyer perspective, trucking accidents caused in part by poor road condition can be more complex to pursue. There may be grounds to take action not just against the truck driver and commercial vehicle carrier, but potentially also against the government agency responsible for maintaining the road.
Common road conditions that might contributed to a trucking accident:
- Signs that are missing, damaged or confusing;
- Poorly-banked or blind curves;
- Lack of traffic signals/ poorly-placed signals;
- Obstructive landscaping;
- Broken guardrails;
- Lack of needed road markings.
When poor road conditions contribute to a trucking accident, one must overcome an assertion of sovereign immunity. This means that the circumstances under which one can pursue an injury lawsuit against the government are limited, and may require evidence that the agency knew or should have known about that specific road defect or issue, and yet failed to address it despite knowing it posed an unreasonable safety hazard.
Infrastructure spending is not keeping pace with an uptick in vehicle miles traveled.
The report indicated that the average driver loses $523 every year due to poor road conditions, which amounts to $112 billion every year. This takes into consideration repairs and operating expenses, but not injuries and wrongful deaths caused by crashes and collisions.
As it now stands, the federal Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, offers $305 billion in infrastructure funding over the next five years. However, there is no long-term source of sustainable revenue for these projects.
If you have been injured in a trucking accident in San Antonio, we can help.