Road improvements in Bay Area can save lives - if they happen

Posted on in Car Accidents

Anyone who's been injured in an accident caused by faulty road design can attest to the importance of updates in infrastructure. A too-sharp curve, exceedingly narrow lanes or a road without a proper barrier can lead to a serious car accident. The most frustrating aspect of these crashes is that they could have been prevented with an improved design and a road crew.

A three-car collision on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco injured three women last week, and officials in charge of the bridge admitted that the accident could have been prevented if a median barrier separating opposing traffic had been completed as planned.

The accident happened during the morning commute last Wednesday. A car traveling south on the bridge swerved out of its lane and through the plastic pylons that separate northbound and southbound traffic. The car collided with another car traveling north, and as a result of that crash another northbound car crashed as well. The crashed cars and the scattered wreckage surrounding them blocked traffic for hours.

Although the injuries all three drivers suffered were minor, another motorist who crashed on the bridge in 2008 wasn't so lucky. A doctor was paralyzed as a result of a head-on collision, and her lawyer said recently that he can't understand why a cement barrier that has been in the works since 1997 still hasn't materialized. Funding for the barrier, which would separate northbound and southbound lanes of traffic, has been in place since 2007, but construction of the median continues to suffer one delay after another. In the meantime, the car accidents keep happening.

Funding, environmental reviews and disputes over a road improvement's design can all delay a road construction project, much to the frustration of people who have already been injured in accidents caused by a dangerous stretch of road. When city officials are aware that a particular road has a high accident rate, they have a responsibility to evaluate it and make changes to avoid future accidents. In some cases, accident victims may be able to sue a municipality for failure to take action. After all, it may only be a matter of time before the next accident happens, and there's no telling how severe it will be.

Source: SF, "Bridge crash could have been prevented," Will Kane and Michael Cabanatuan, Dec. 6, 2012

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