Nearly half of Hawaii’s roads are rated as being in poor or mediocre condition, costing motorists $456 million per year in repairs, or approximately $515 for each driver, as reported by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
The cost of repairing a vehicle is annoying, but there are more serious concerns. Poorly maintained streets and roads are hazardous and are the underlying cause of many deadly car accidents.
Sudden tire blowouts, deep potholes and other hazardous road conditions put all motorists at risk of a car accident. Hawaii ranks as the seventh most dangerous state in the nation for quality of roads, with 26% of the roads rated as being in bad condition, and 13% of the state’s bridges rated as structurally deficient.
With federal monies slated for infrastructure improvements from the Highway Trust Fund drying up, repairs and upgrades may be a long time coming. In many cases, federal funds may only become available after a bridge is no longer safe for travel, rather than for the necessary repairs to keep the bridge functional and safe.
Fatal Car Crashes in Hawaii: A Dangerous and Deadly Trend
Recent statistics for 2012 from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tell a shocking story of Hawaii’s high incidence of serious or fatal injury accidents, with 1.25 deaths per 100 million road miles travelled, far outstripping the percentages of deaths on the road in high population states such as California, New York and New Jersey.
Sixty percent of the fatal crashes in Hawaii took place on rural roads, and 40% on urban streets and roadways.
Hawai’i Health Matters reports that the state has a 16.6 death rate per 100,000 population in car accidents, and the non-fatal injury rate stands at a frightening 934 injuries per 100,000 population.
Factually, Hawaiians are dealing with dangerous roadways almost every day, putting drivers and their passengers in harm’s way. Thirty-eight percent of the vehicle accidents leading to death are single-vehicle accidents, some of which are a direct result of dangerous road conditions.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or your loved one died in a car accident linked to bad road conditions, you should talk to a lawyer about your legal options and whether a lawsuit is appropriate based on your specific facts.
Road maintenance and repair is the responsibility of the city, state or county, based upon the location of the accident and how the dangerous road conditions contributed to the crash.
If a hazardous road had not been repaired by the responsible entity and road conditions contributed to the injury of drivers and passengers, the government entity should be held accountable. These are preventable accidents.
What You Can Do
Participate in local initiatives to improve the condition of Hawaii’s roads. Hazardous roads are a serious public safety concern that must be addressed by our state, county and city leaders. Be alert that on rough roads, another vehicle may be thrown into your lane of traffic, and defensive driving is of even higher importance in our state due to the poor condition of the roadways.
Legal Action for Injury and Fatal Accidents
You have the right to pursue compensation for damages when another party has been negligent and failed to exercise reasonable care for your safety, or that of your loved ones. What does this mean with regard to roads, streets and highways? There is limited time in which to file a claim against any government agency in Hawaii. You have only two years in which to file a legal action.
The damages in an auto accident case will include both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those direct financial losses you experienced, such as the cost of medical care, rehabilitation, ongoing treatment and care, home refits for those who have been catastrophically injured, transportation costs, medications, loss of income from work–both current and estimated for the future–among other losses. The non-economic damages are related to the personal anguish, pain and suffering, loss of quality of life and other similar personal losses.
Connect with a lawyer at Leavitt Yamane & Soldner, a personal injury law firm with 100 years of shared legal experience and a commitment to compassionate, personal service. We offer a free case consultation.
Business Insider Magazine: http://www.businessinsider.com/worst-state-road-systems-2010-7?op=1
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety: http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/general-statistics/fatalityfacts/state-by-state-overview