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What is considered a faulty roadway design?

Auto accidents in Texas may be the result of careless driving, drunk driving, mechanical failures or even defective or faulty roadway design. When someone is injured or killed in an accident, it is important to pin down who is at fault. Someone is going to have to be responsible for the medical bills, expenses and other damages.

At what point might the state, county or city be liable for poorly designing or constructing a public road or highway?

Different states may have different guidelines for their road and highway designers, although a “Policy for Geometric Design of Highways and Streets” publication does exist. However, those policies are subject to their adoption by each state. In addition, the guidelines were published prior to 1940, and there have been extreme changes to our roadways, as well as population of vehicles on the roads and highways, since then.

Highway design should include the proportionate dimensions for lanes, turns, intersections and entrances and exits. The design should avoid: abrupt speed changes, brief transitions into roadway changes or intersections and narrow lanes or bridges.

If a poorly designed road or highway is attributed to the cause of your accident, the state, city or county may be liable. In some cases, a poorly designed road occurs during construction. Defective materials can cause road breakage or even falling signs.

Other lawsuits where defective road design has been considered for liability of accidents includes missing or misplaced alerts at construction areas, severe road drop offs at construction sites, defective guardrails and faulty or nonworking traffic signals.

Regular inspection of signs and roads is sadly lacking in most states. On top of that, it seems that road construction on our highways is never-ending; it is up to the highway designers to ensure that traffic through construction zones are informed by proper warnings and signs, and are free from safety hazards.

Source:, “Defective Highway Design” Dec. 30, 2014

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