Seattle ranks in the top 12 cities with the worst streets. According to a recent article, 45 percent of our roads are considered to be in poor condition, and one of the leading causes of this is potholes. Potholes typically occur on roads that have high traffic and poor drainage.
In the wintertime, when standing water on a road freezes and thaws repeatedly, that weakens the integrity of the asphalt, which causes it to break down and subsequently form potholes. Most of our roads were built in the 1950s through the 1970s and were meant to last for fifty years or so. By this point, that expiration date has come and gone and our crumbling streets are all that remain.
How did our roads get so bad?
One of the leading contributing factors to our lack of decent roads is cost. It is estimated that it will cost $185 billion per year to repair all of America's pothole-ridden streets. We currently pay $68 billion annually. That means that roughly two-thirds of infrastructure repair costs are not being met every year.
While $185 billion sounds like a high number, the cost of not repairing our streets costs people and businesses much more time and money in the long run. If a pothole damages a car, and the person driving that car sues the state, that pothole costs the state far more in the long run than if that pothole had been properly repaired. And it's not just our streets. Potholes on sidewalks, bike paths and other areas can also cause serious injuries to the pedestrian or cyclist that trips on them.
Most of the money used to fix the roads come from gas taxes. Incidentally, because of the rise in hybrid and other fuel-efficient cars, as well as the fact that younger generations are purchasing fewer cars, there is less money coming in from that gas tax. Without money from that tax, it has to be found elsewhere.
Our livelihood depends on it
We depend on our roads to get us to school or work safely. Without our roads, it would be nearly impossible for society to continue. Yet our roads are not given the care and repair they need to keep us going. Without proper, structurally sound roads, every day we spend on them is a gamble. We deserve better. Our Seattle car accident attorneys know that accidents can happen at any time, but with properly constructed and repaired roadways, our chances of an accident decrease drastically.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to an unaddressed road repair issue, such as a pothole, contact Nelson Langer Engle, PLLC. We offer a free consultation.