A need for improved road pavement conditions and reduced traffic congestion ranked Connecticut near the bottom of the Reason Foundation’s most recent Annual Highway Report. As noted by the Hartford Business Journal, Connecticut’s only minor improvements in road safety earned the state an overall ranking of 46, just slightly ahead of Massachusetts and New York. In two of the report’s sub-categories, Connecticut ranked at 24 for structural deficiencies in bridges and 11 for road fatalities.
The report notes that hazards such as lingering potholes, especially in rural areas, require overdue attention. The recommendation made in the report is that the state “get more out of its spending” with regard to its road maintenance and upkeep. The condition of Connecticut’s roads may cause some concerns; unsafe road conditions are a significant contributor to vehicle accidents according to Safe Roads USA.
Overall, the majority of vehicle accidents across the nation result from driver negligence, but properly maintained roads can help reduce the number of incidents and injuries. Potholes, for example, can cause damage estimated at about $3 billion each year. They can be hard to spot, and hitting one can cause a car to swerve into another vehicle. Missing or damaged road signs, guardrails and barriers may also contribute to vehicle accidents.
The responsibility of maintaining safe public roads belongs to the government, which means there may be a liability for damages and injuries if unsafe conditions cause accidents. There is a much greater chance of accidents occurring when motorists encounter or remain unaware of dangerous road conditions that may be ahead of them.
Government’s failure to either warn of or correct road conditions may enable an injured party to sue for damages. The agency responsible for maintaining road safety may be held financially liable for the cost of medical treatment, pain and suffering, lost wages and property damages resulting from unaddressed road safety issues.