When people get into a crash, they often look at the other parties involved to determine who is to blame. However, while individuals can certainly be at fault for crashes caused by personal negligence or recklessness, there may be other factors that contribute to serious car accidents.
Poor infrastructure, or road engineering, plays a role in far too many crashes across California. In other words, protecting road users can require much more effort than requiring individuals to drive safely.
How poor infrastructure contributes to crashes
Road planning involves the design of everything from streets and highways to bridges and bike lanes. Over time, the needs and uses of our road systems have changed, and existing systems may no longer be safe.
For instance, when road conditions are poor, they can create hazards for drivers. When an area becomes more popular for pedestrians, existing speed limits may be too high. And deteriorating materials can lead to bridge collapses and other structural failures, putting countless lives in danger.
Thus, improving infrastructure by modernizing roads and making engineering and design changes is crucial. However, it is also a controversial matter.
Reaching an impasse on infrastructure
Recently, the Biden administration announced a robust infrastructure plan as part of the American Jobs Plan. The proposal would direct about $400 billion toward transportation improvements, including road safety programs, physical improvements and funding for state and local projects.
However, the plan is not without critics. Some people argue it prioritizes jobs related to work rather than safety; others say it is not enough money to make effective changes. And there are numerous conflicting opinions on which projects should be prioritized.
With so much debate and discussion surrounding how to improve infrastructure, improving roads will be an uphill battle. Those who suffer the consequences of this conflict include the pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers and passengers who must navigate unsafe systems.
Understanding how road design and maintenance can affect the welfare of all road users can be necessary if you or someone you love is in an accident. Liability and the issue of safety can reach far beyond the acts of one negligent or reckless party.