The goal of this research was to improve highway safety and reduce the potential liability of counties from accidents relating to alleged imperfections in highway facilities or in connection with essential highway-related activities. The goal was addressed by focusing upon those safety problems that actually have resulted in highway-related tort claims against counties. The purpose of one intermediate step in the accomplishment of this goal was to establish the magnitude of the problem of tort claims against counties in Iowa that relate to alleged deficiencies in highway facilities or in construction and maintenance practices. The number and dollar amount of county highway-related tort claims for the years 1973 through 1978 were determined in order to evaluate yearly trends. The number and dollar amounts of settlements or judgments and the number and dollar amounts of the claims pending were also determined. A further purpose of this stage of the research was to determine the specific problem areas that have caused accidents giving rise to claims. An evaluation could then be made as to which problems had given rise to the largest amounts of claims, settlements, and cases pending. Data obtained from the counties were also analyzed to determine whether any significant relationships could be established between the historical tort claims experience and the locations, demographic characteristics, or highway system characteristics of the counties. The purpose of this analysis was to identify any factors that demonstrated a significant correlation with claims experience in order to suggest measures that might be useful for reducing the potential liability from highway-related tort claims. Eight recommendations resulted from this research. These are directed toward reducing the potential exposure of counties to tort liability. Recommendations are as follows: Follow strictly the provisions of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices in the use of warning signs; establish a coherent and carefully documented policy governing the use of stop signs; establish a continuing sign inventory process; establish written agreements covering county line roads that clearly delimit responsibilities; use a ball bank indicator to establish advisory curve speeds where needed; establish a road and sign inspection program; establish a proram to document conditions surrounding accidents on roads under county jurisdiction; and develop procedures to assure timely notification of accidents on roads under county jurisdiction. (Author)

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 113 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00315374
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Final Rpt.
  • Files: NTL, TRIS
  • Created Date: Dec 11 1980 12:00AM