In freeway accidents in Miami and highway accidents across the state, good road design plays an important role. Good road maintenance and design can help prevent accidents and injuries. Part of the safety measures that can be used on roadways include good traffic signals, lights, and signs to help provide drivers with the information they need to stay safe. Guardrails are also an important part of preventing accidents and injuries, especially on highways. According to at least one organization, however, Florida may not rank very high when it comes to guardrail safety.
According to a group known as Safety Research and Strategies, Florida is not doing enough to keep drivers safe. The organization is suing the Florida Department of Transportation, alleging that the agency is withholding public documents about highway safety even though it is illegal to do so.
Safety Research and Strategies also claims that faulty guardrails across the state may be putting millions of motorists at risk. Part of the guardrail issue, according to the group, is that the company that makes the guardrails reduced the height of its guardrails from 5 to four feet in 2005. This reduction in height, Safety Research and Strategies claims, puts drivers at risk. The group cites a 2012 survey conducted by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials to prove its point. That survey concluded that the shorter guardrails could be linked to fatal and serious car accidents. The Department of Transportation in Nevada withdrew its approval of the shorter guardrails in January 2014 and Safety Research and Strategies believes that Florida should follow suit.
In February 2014, Safety Research and Strategies requested thousands of Florida Department of Transportation documents regarding the guardrails. As of June, the group had not received the information, prompting the lawsuit. The organization would like a judge to ensure that the documents are handed over so that the group can inform Florida residents whether the government agency knew about the risks of the new guardrails. Both the Florida Department of Transportation and the company that produces the guardrails have declined to comment on the lawsuit.
It is difficult to know what the public documents or the lawsuit will reveal, but there is little doubt that guardrails are an important part of highway safety. In rollover accidents in Miami and other cities, guardrails can prevent cars from going over embankments and off the road. Guardrails can stop an out-of-control truck or car. Poor road design issues in Miami and other cities can include missing, broken, or inadequate guardrails. While it is difficult to tell whether the shorter guardrails do in fact carry a higher risk of accident and injury, it will be interesting to see whether the lawsuit and documents will reveal new information about how Florida fares in terms of highway safety.
If you or your family members have been injured in a collision in South Florida, contact Flaxman Law Group, a full service law firm with offices in Miami, Homestead, and Hollywood. Flaxman Law Group attorneys would be pleased to meet with you in a free consultation to review the specifics of your potential claim and to review your legal options with you.