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We deal with all sorts of motor vehicle collisions in the office. A lot of time is spent on investigation, reviewing reports, and talking to people involved. Occasionally, those incidents involved questions about where it happened. Clearly, we will continue to need good roads to prevent the road itself from being a bigger part of each tragedy. For society this seems like a problem we should stop before it becomes an issue.

A recent editorial from Minnesota 2020 did a excellent job of reviewing this issue when they pointed out:

… a new national study points to what may be the last great frontier in driving safety – the vast remaining roadways where poor design or maintenance contribute to more than half of all traffic fatalities.

The Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation put the annual national cost of crashes attributable to bad roadways at $217.5 billion, more than the cost from drunken driving and more than the combined costs of speeding and failure to wear a seat belt. Even more significantly, it’s nearly four times the U.S. annual investment of $59 billion by all levels of government in roadway improvements.

In Minnesota, the institute found $2 billion in annual costs for roadway-related crashes. Both here and across the country, the problem is largely concentrated on back roads in rural areas.

As we continue to look at the economic issues, we will have to weigh the cost of keeping roads safe versus the long term cost of not doing anything. It requires forward thinking and budgeting to protect the future. Clearly, it’s something that can make a difference.


  1. Gravatar for Daniel 8791

    I've got to agree with you on this objective. Sure potholes and cracks in the road can cause some accidents; but the bigger problem, I'm sure is poor design and implementation of traffic control signs and speed limits. If the studies show where accidents occur more often compared to other locales, these areas should be our focus in fixing the problems and keeping people more safe. We definitely need more money for our highways, bridges and city streets. I say fix them sooner rather than later, before the costs become much higher overall in dollars and lives.

  2. Gravatar for Mike Bryant

    It seems to be getting worse all the time. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

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