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State investigating whether bad road contributed to fatal crashes

There are many causes and reasons for serious and fatal accidents occurring on Montana roadways across the nation. In most cases, a Montana driver plays a major role because it is their performance behind the wheel that controls the vehicle. If they are not attentive or reckless, he or she could lose control of the vehicle and cause an accident. There are also environmental factors or road conditions that play a role in an accident. While drivers are required to adjust their driving for inclement weather and road conditions, the design of the road might impact the safety of drivers. Because of that, it is important to fully investigate an accident to determine all the causing factors.

Following two fatal accidents in a span of two weeks in Lame Deer, the Montana Department of Transportation is not questioning whether these fatalities are due to driver errors or because of the roads. If there is a problem with the roads, the next step is to use several sources to evaluate the roads. This includes sending a safety engineer to conduct an investigation then a follow up with Montana Highway Patrol, regarding any actions that could be taken to enhance the safety of the roads. Additionally, concerns from the public will be considered as well.

If an accident investigation indicates that there is an issue regarding a curve in the road or an intersection, criteria needs to be set to determine if any improvements can be made to reduce the number of fatal crashes. The best way to establish an issue with an area of a roadway is to look at data annually, and following the two recent fatal accident occurring in a 10 mile radius, the Montana Department of Transportation is currently determining if there any issues with the roadway.

When the roadway environment is not safe, this could increase the chances of an accident. While driver behavior plays a major part when an automobile collision occurs, if the design of a road or intersection has safety flaws, this could prove to be a major factor in an accident. Because many factors could be involved in a fatal crash, it is important that the incident is fully investigated. This could help loved ones seeking to file a wrongful death claim, helping them hold a negligent party responsible for the incident.

Source: KULR 8, "Fatal and injury road studies," Tracy Smith, Jan. 29, 2016

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