Roadside Hazard Crashes

Cars, motorcycles, bicycles, and trucks will leave the travel lanes and run off the roadway.  It happens.  And, should an errant vehicle leave the roadway and drive onto the shoulder it shouldn't collide with hazardous objects next to the road.  The runoff should be recoverable or at least result in a minor crash without significant damage or injury.

National, state, and local standards are in place to protect such errant vehicles and their occupants from the occasional run-off-the-road incident.  A concept called "clear zone" provides for a strip of land outside the travel lanes that should be free of hazardous conditions.

Ditches that trap vehicles and guide them into the exposed ends of pipes are sometimes a hazard.  Roadside trees, fences, posts, and poles can create a hazard.  Hardened objects such as concrete or masonry headwalls at the ends of pipes are sometimes a hazard.  Masonry, concrete, or steel mailbox posts can be a hazard.  Traffic sign and traffic signal poles and concrete foundations may be a roadside hazard.  Parked vehicles such as in front of a business can be a roadside hazard.  Exposed slopes, ditches, and streams may be a hazard.

Removing non-essential roadside objects, special treatments for necessary roadside objects like drainage pipes and traffic sign posts, and shielding of roadside objects with guardrails are all common treatments to protect errant vehicles from roadside hazards.

The clear zone is dependent on several factors including the designated roadway speed and the steepness of the shoulder.  Common sense tells us that a high-speed highway with steep shoulders sloped away from the pavement will be harder to recover from in a runoff incident if compared to a low-speed neighborhood street with flat residential yards next to the road.

Accidents involving roadside hazards require careful evaluation to understand what was supposed to be in place at the time of the crash versus what was actually in place at the time of the crash.  Mr. Marceau has reviewed many clear zone cases in different jurisdictions across the U.S., and is familiar with roadside safety standards.  His experience includes assisting retaining counsel with understanding the concepts and standards at issue as they evaluate their case.  And, Mr. Marceau is experienced in explaining the technical aspects of roadside hazards to the courts, his students, and to jurors.
Website Builder