LIABILITY AND HIGHWAY-SAFETY PRACTICES

The author discusses some of the general principles of law as they apply to highway safety practices, and judicial trends are examined by discussing specific cases. The State has a nondelegable duty to maintain its highways in a reasonably safe condition for travel, but it is not an answer of the safety of those who travel thereon. Notice is an important consideration in establishing whether the state's conduct has exposed a motorist to an undreasonable risk of harm-where notice is present and no action on the part of the state has occurred, liability will follow. Because many construction zones are large and complex, the potential for confusion on the part of the motorist as well as the likelihood that he will overlook necessary signing or barrier requirements is increased-liability in this case maybe attached not only to the state but also to the contractor. The element of design defect continues to occur in liability cases, but the general immunity from liability remains intact for pure design defect. The author concludes with the recent case of Ehlinger v State (Iowa) 1976), in which the plaintiff was awarded $638,000. The case discusses general duties, manual specifications, carelessness, failure to follow standards, false economy, and tragedy.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Institute of Transportation Engineers

    1627 Eye Street, NW, Suite 600
    Washington, DC  USA  20006
  • Authors:
    • OLIVER, D C
  • Publication Date: 1977-5

Media Info

  • Features: Photos;
  • Pagination: p. 30-35
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00157169
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 9 1977 12:00AM