People on today’s roadways are constantly confronted with hazards. Whether it is a distracted driver, an improperly maintained vehicle or weather conditions, the danger of a serious accident is ever-present. Fortunately, there are state and federal guidelines designed to help reduce the risk of serious injury and death in a crash. For example, Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) guidelines suggest that guardrails should be installed at certain locations. Guardrails are designed to flex and catch cars, redirecting them into the roadway, which can often reduce the likelihood of serious injury and death.
TXDOT’s safety guidelines suggest that barriers, such as guardrails, be installed if a bridge post sits less than thirty feet from the edge of a freeway, or if the post is less than sixteen feet from the edge of a freeway ramp. However, a recent investigation by NBC 5 in Dallas-Fort Worth shows that TXDOT failed to install barriers at several locations meeting these criteria.
One such location was the site of Toby Tappen’s death in 2013. Mr. Tappen died after hitting a bridge post on Spur 482 in Irving, Texas. On the freeway ramp where Mr. Tappen, died there was a bridge post about five feet from the road, but no guardrail. Irving police records show that five have people have died hitting the same bridge posts. TXDOT has now put up a temporary barrier and agreed that a permanent barrier should be installed at this location.
Ultimately, decision as to whether a guardrail is needed at a given location is ultimately an engineering judgment call. TXDOT guidelines are not hard and fast rules and engineers may have different opinions on whether guardrails will help or not at a particular location.
If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in an auto collision, it is important to understand your right to recover. Contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling 713-396-3964 or toll free at 800-594-4884 for a confidential consultation.