Attorney View On Auto Safety And Unsafe Roads In Chester County, Pennsylvania
Earlier in my career, I defended PennDOT in numerous lawsuits filed by injured drivers who claimed that the Pennsylvania roads were unsafe. It was my job to prove that the road in question was not a contributing legal factor in causing the auto accident. This was often difficult to do.
In many of my PennDOT cases throughout Chester County and particularly around West Chester, Exton and Unionville, the plaintiffs complained of various defects in the roads, identifying issues such as poor road signage, defective traffic lights; blind curves, inadequate road lighting, ice patches, potholes and poorly designed secondary roads.
Unsafe secondary roads have been and continue to be a problem in Chester County. Years ago, Chester County was extremely rural. Once you left the Western Main Line or West Chester, you were deep in farm country where the roads were hilly; had sharp curves and blind spots. They were narrow, lacked berms, had utility poles close to the road and overgrown foliage. On many of these roads, you took your life in your hands every time you drove.
Public Chester County Outcry On Car Accidents
By 2007 the public outcry about the number of serious and fatal auto accidents occurring on route 100 forced PennDOT to undertake significant upgrades to the roads. Penn DOT undertook a major overhaul of Pottstown Pike from Pottstown to Upper Uwchland. It included installing newer and safer road surfaces; additional signage; warning strips and a widening of the road. They also tightened speed enforcement and increased vegetation management.
Positive Road Safety Results In The Delaware Valley
These changes have had dramatically positive effects. Safety first was the purpose and it has paid off.
I read with great interest in the Chester County Daily Local Newspaper recently that the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission completed a survey of that eight mile stretch of highway and reported that the number of fatal crashes had dropped by thirty percent between the years 2003 and 2012.
Personal Injury Attorney Viewpoint
As a plaintiff’s attorney for the past twenty five years, I have filed numerous claims against other drivers as well as PennDOT for its accidents involving crossover accidents on curves, collisions on wet roads, accidents due to utility pole positioning and for trees planted too close to the roads. These accidents cost PennDOT and you the taxpayer, millions of dollars in judgments and have resulted in significant misery and pain for those injured or killed.
According to the study, some of the successful changes involved the laying of Nova Chip Friction Treatment on the road. Forty three percent of the accidents prior to the changes were due to cars running off the roads due to wet and slippery conditions on downhill grades.
As both a defense attorney representing PennDOT in the past and as a driver who drives that road on regular basis, I was quite happy to see these changes. However, similar changes must be made to the many other dangerous roadways in Chester County such as Route 282 north of Downingtown, Old Baltimore Pike in the Oxford area and Route 41 in southern Chester County.
Kudos to PennDOT and the various Townships involved for fixing the problems in northern Chester County. Now it is time to get to the rest of Chester County.