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Pothole Accidents – An Overlooked But Serious Traffic Safety Problem

by John Gomez | Last Updated: February 24, 2017
Pothole Accidents

There are certain things that we may find annoying as we drive through our daily routines, but we also tend to accept them.  Debris on the road is one example.  However, as we’ve covered recently, this is a problem that actually leads to a large number of car accidents.  Potholes are another annoyance that everyone, particularly people in San Diego and Southern California, deal with constantly.  For many people, the prevalence of potholes has gotten to the point where motorists don’t even think about them much anymore.  They should, though, as potholes are dangerous and pothole accidents can lead to serious damage to vehicles and to harm to motorists and their passengers.  Authorities believe that a San Diego car accident that occurred earlier this week started when a motorist hit a pothole, only adding to this problem.

About the San Diego Car Accident

NBC Channel 7 in San Diego published a report that described the accident.  Those interested in reading it and/or watching the corresponding video can find it here.  According to the report, an unidentified woman was driving her vehicle near San Diego State University on Wednesday morning.  As she neared the intersection of 54th Street and Montezuma Road just after 10:45 a.m., she may have hit a pothole.  The collision caused the woman to lose control of her vehicle, and it went careening 50 feet down a ravine before coming to rest.  Rescue workers arrived on the scene and removed her from the vehicle, and she is expected to survive her injuries.  No one else was injured in the accident.

San Diego and Potholes – A Big Problem

The Road Information Program, or TRIP, is a nonprofit organization that researches data relating to transportation issues.  One of its pieces of research is a report that ranks American cities based on the quality of their roads.  Unfortunately for local residents, San Diego did not do well, in part because of the number of pothole accidents that occur.  Below are the 10 worst cities in the United States, from worst to 10th worst, in terms of road quality based on TRIP’s data:

  1. San Francisco/Oakland, California – 74 percent of roads are poor.
  2. Los Angeles/Long Beach/Santa Ana, California – 73 percent of roads are poor.
  3. Concord, California – 62 percent of roads are poor.
  4. Detroit, Michigan – 56 percent of roads are poor.
  5. San Jose, California – 53 percent of roads are poor.
  6. Cleveland, Ohio – 52 percent of roads are poor.
  7. New York/Newark – 51 percent of roads are poor.
  8. San Diego, California – 51 percent of roads are poor.
  9. Grand Rapids, Michigan – 51 percent of roads are poor.
  10. Honolulu, Hawaii – 51 percent of roads are poor.

Those interested in reviewing the entire TRIP report can find it here.  It should not come as a surprise that no state is represented on this list more so than California given the pure volume of traffic the roads here must endure.

San Diego and Potholes – A Big Cost

A few years ago, NBC 7 in San Diego ran a story regarding the cost associated with potholes and pothole accidents in the area.  Those who would like to see the story in full can find it here.  The report laid out the following information:

  • Over a 10-year period, the City of San Diego paid out more than $1 million in pothole claims to motorists.
  • During that same 10-year period, the city received 2,219 claims for damage to vehicles caused by potholes.
  • The city rejected 565 of those pothole claims, or 25 percent of them overall.
  • Each paid claim carried a value of approximately $600.

Many people are simply not aware that they can file a claim against the municipality responsible for a particular road if they incur damage as a result of disrepair.

San Diego Pothole Repairs

Pothole accidents are common in part because there are so many of them in a given city.  The San Diego Union-Tribune recently published a story regarding pothole repairs in the wake of our recent winter storms.  The story revealed the following:

  • The City of San Diego received 6,859 requests for pothole repairs during the first 33 days of 2017.
  • The city patched and filled 36,000 potholes during the previous fiscal year.
  • It takes an average of 16.3 days for the city to repair a reported pothole.
  • Poor road conditions cost the average resident of San Diego $722 per year in operating costs.

Those who want to read the entire story can find it here.

The National Pothole Survey

In 2014, Trusted Choice and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, or IIABA, commissioned a survey of more than 2,500 vehicle owners in the United States.  The survey asked respondents to provide information regarding their encounters with potholes.  The responses generated the following data:

  • Consumers and the insurance industry lost approximately $27 billion based on poor road conditions between 2009 and 2014.
  • Half of the car owners surveyed reported suffering pothole damage to their vehicles during that time period.
  • The cost of repairs was more than $500 for approximately 40 percent of the respondents.
  • Only 31 percent of vehicle owners who suffered pothole damage filed a claim with their insurance company.
  • Only three percent of respondents who suffered pothole damage had their costs paid by the municipality responsible for the upkeep of the road on which the damage occurred.

These are enormous losses, averaging $5.4 billion per year or nearly $15 million per day because of poor road conditions across the United States.  Broken down to the extreme, this equates to losses of more than $173 per second.

How a San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

We hope that the person who was injured in this car accident is able to make a fast and full recovery.  We can all do our part to minimize the number of pothole accidents.  First, we need to do what we can to make sure that these holes are filled in properly.  If you see a pothole and think it needs attention, click on this link to send a report to the city.  Secondly, if you are injured in one of the many pothole accidents that occur in the area, you need to seek the help of a San Diego personal injury lawyer who understands how to hold the parties responsible for harm accountable.  Contact Gomez Trial Attorneys as soon as possible for a free case evaluation.

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