BOOK OUTLINE:
Roadway Safety and Tort Liability


by John C. Glennon, D.Engr., P.E. and Paul F. Hill, Esq.
June, 2004

This book, published in June 2004, is the second edition of Roadway Defects and Tort Liability. It now has a major second part written by Paul F. Hill, Esq. that examines related case law from around the nation.





PART I
John C. Glennon

Chapter 1 - Roadway Safety and Tort Liability Overview

1.1 Diagnosing the Traffic Safety Problem

1.2 Driver Performance
  • Information Handling
  • Driver Perception-Reaction Time
1.3 Driver Expectancy, Roadway Consistency, and Positive Guidance
  • Driver Expectancy
  • Roadway Consistency
  • Positive Guidance
1.4 Nature of Roadway Defects Today

1.5 Basic Legal Concepts
  • Negligence
  • Contributory vs Comparative Negligence
  • Joint and Several Liability
  • Standard of Care
  • Notice of a Defect
  • Sovereign Immunity
  • Governmental vs. Proprietary Functions
  • Discretionary vs. Ministerial Acts
  • Design Immunity
1.6 Authoritative Sources of Information

1.7 The Intended Focus of This Book


Chapter 2 - Roadside Safety

2.1 Single-Vehicle Collision Characteristics

2.2 Characteristics of Roadside Encroachments

2.3 Roadside Hazard Model

2.4 Clear Zone Standards

2.5 Functional Roadside Elements
  • Roadside Slopes
  • Bridges
  • Drainage Facilities
  • Light Poles
  • Sign Supports
  • Traffic Signal Supports
  • Curbs
2.6 Non-Functional Roadside Elements
  • Trees
  • Utility Poles
  • Traffic Barriers
  • Other Fixed Objects
2.7 Technical Aspects of Roadside Hazard Cases
  • Roadway Widening Projects that Sacrifice Roadside Safety
  • Steep Side Slopes
  • Removable Objects Within the Clear Zone
  • Moveable Objects Within the Clear Zone
  • Non-Breakaway Functional Objects Within the Clear Zone
  • Unprotected Functional Objects Within the Clear Zone
  • Defective Traffic Barriers
  • Pavement Edge Drops
2.8 Typical Defense Arguments


Chapter 3 - Traffic Barriers

3.1 Roadside Barriers
  • Performance
  • Warrants
  • Designs
  • End Treatments
  • Placement
3.2 Bridge Rails
  • Performance
  • Designs
  • Transitions
  • Retrofitting Substandard Bridge Rails
3.3 Median Barriers
  • Warrants
  • Designs
  • End Treatments
  • Transitions
  • Placement
3.4 Crash Cushions
  • Concept
  • Designs
  • Placement
3.5 Technical Aspects of Traffic Barrier Defect Cases
  • Guardrail Defects
  • Bridge Rail Defects
  • Median Barrier Defects
  • Crash Cushion Defects
3.6 Typical Defense Arguments


Chapter 4 - Stopping Sight Distance

4.1 Historical Perspective

4.2 Stopping Sight Distance Design Standards

4.3 Accident Experience with Restricted Stopping Sight Distance

4.4 Functional Analysis of Stopping Sight Distance Requirements

4.5 Decision Sight Distance Design Standards

4.6 Technical Aspects of Stopping Sight Distance Defects Cases

  • Hillcrests with Deficient SSD on Narrow Roadways
  • Hillcrests with Deficient SSD that Hide Nearby Intersection
  • Sharp Roadway Curves Hidden by SSD-Restricted Hillcrests
  • Hidden STOP Signs
  • A Project to Flatten a SSD-restricted Hillcrest Can Produce No Safety Benefit
  • Sharp Roadway Curves with Restricted SSD
  • Sharp Roadway Curves on Freeways with a Concrete Median Barrier
4.7 Accident Reconstruction Aspects

4.8 Typical Defense Arguments


Chapter 5 - Intersection Sight Distance

5.1 Sight Distance Requirements for Uncontrolled Intersections

5.2 Sight Distance Requirements for Stop-Controlled Intersections

5.3 Rail-Highway Grade Crossing Sight Distance

5.4 Technical Aspects of Intersection Sight Distance Defect Cases
  • Uncontrolled Intersections with Deficient Sight Distance
  • Stop-Controlled Intersections with Sight Restrictions
  • Sight Obstructions at Freeway Interchanges
  • Sight Obstructions at Driveways
5.5 Accident Reconstruction Aspects

5.6 Typical Defense Arguments


Chapter 6 - Slippery Pavements and Hydroplaning Sections

6.1 Design and Construction of Pavements

6.2 Mechanics of the Tire-Pavement Interface

6.3 Frictional Requirements of Traffic

6.4 Measurement of Pavement Skid Resistance

6.5 Accidents on Wet Pavements

6.6 Standards for Skid Resistance

6.7 Hydroplaning
  • Mechanics of Hydroplaning
  • Pavement Texture
  • Pavement Drainage
  • Pavement Wheel Ruts
  • Vehicle Tires
6.8 Technical Aspects of Slippery Pavement or Hydroplaning Cases

6.9 Accident Reconstruction Aspects

6.10 Typical Defense Arguments


Chapter 7 - Pavement Edge Drop Offs

7.1 Characteristics of a Pavement Edge Drop Off Traversal

7.2 Writings and Research on Pavement Edge Drops
  • Ivey and Griffin (1976)
  • Nordlin, Parks, Stoughton, and Stoker (1976)
  • Klein, Johnson, and Szostak (1977)
  • Zimmer and Ivey (1982)
  • Graham and Glennon (1984)
  • Glennon (1985)
  • Olson, Zimmer, and Pezoldt (1986)
  • Ivey and Sicking (1986)
  • Ivey, Mak, Cooner, and Marek (1988)
  • Humphreys and Parham (1994)
7.3 Recommended Standards for Pavement Edge Drop Offs
  • Recommended Practices for Normal Maintenance
  • Recommended Contract Provisions for Resurfacing Roadways
  • Recommended Practices for Construction Zones
7.4 Technical Aspects of Pavement Edge Drop Off Cases

7.5 Typical Defense Arguments


Chapter 8 - Rail-Highway Grade Crossings

8.1 Accident Statistics

8.2 Legal Responsibilities of Railroads and Roadway Agencies

8.3 Legal Requirements of Drivers at Crossings

8.4 Stages of the Rail-Highway Grade Crossing Maneuver

8.5 Vehicle-Train Conflict Circumstance

8.6 Driver Needs

8.7 Traffic Control Devices for Rail-Highway Grade Crossings
  • Crossbuck Signs
  • Advance Warning Signs
  • Pavement Markings
  • Turn Prohibition Signs
  • Stop or Yield Signs
  • Flashing Light Signals
  • Automatic Gates
  • Train Detection
  • Traffic Signals Near Grade Crossings
8.8 Sight Distance Requirements
  • Moving Roadway Vehicle
  • Stopped Roadway Vehicle
8.9 Rail- Highway Grade Crossing Improvements
  • Eliminate Crossings
  • Remove Devices at Abandoned Crossings
  • Improve Sight-Restricted Crossings
  • Bring Crossings Up to Standard
  • Install Flashing Light Signals
  • Install Automatic Gates
  • Add Cantilever Signals
  • Install Active Advance Warning Signs
  • Install DO NOT STOP ON TRACKS Sign
  • Install Turn Prohibition Signs
  • Install Warning Bells
  • Install Crossing Illumination
  • Improve Roadway Horizontal Alignment
  • Improve Roadway Vertical Alignment
  • Improve Roadway Cross-Section
  • Improve Crossing Surfaces
  • Improve Train Conspicuity
  • Reduce Roadway Speed Limit
  • Reduce Track Speed Limit
  • Install Combinations of Improvements
8.10 Technical Aspects of Rail-Highway Grade Crossing Defect Cases
  • Sight Triangle Obstructions
  • Nearby Intersections
  • Sharp Angle Crossing Approach
  • Poor Maintenance of Signs
  • Lack of Advance Warnings
  • Poor Flashing Signal Visibility
  • Steep Crossing Grade
  • Rough Crossings
8.11 Accident Reconstruction Aspects
  • Train braking Performance
  • Crush Damage Method
8.12 Typical Defense Arguments


Chapter 9 - Roadway Curves

9.1 Vehicle Cornering

9.2 Tire Pavement Skid Resistance

9.3 Roadway Curve Design Standards
  • Safe Side Friction Factors
  • Maximum Superelevation Rates
  • Minimum Curve Radius
9.4 Roadway Curve Accident Characteristics

9.5 Signing For Roadway Curves
  • Curve and Turn Signs and Advisory Speed Plates
  • Combination Curves
  • Supplementary Curves Signs
9.6 Delineation for Roadway Curves

9.7 Technical Aspects of Roadway Curve Defect Cases
  • Narrow Roadway
  • Tangent Roadway With False Visual Cues
  • Low or Negative Superelevation
  • Rough or Uneven Pavements
  • Slippery Pavements
  • Other Elements
9.8 Accident Reconstruction Aspects

9.9 Typical Defense Arguments


Chapter 10 - Construction and Maintenance Zones

10.1 Fundamental Principles

10.2 Traffic Operational Elements
  • Tapers
  • Detours and Diversions
  • One-Way Traffic Control
  • Flagging
  • Mobile Operations
  • Pedestrian Safety
  • Worker Safety
  • Typical Applications
10.3 Traffic Control Devices
  • Regulatory Signs
  • Road Closure Signs
  • Warning Signs
  • Detour Signs
  • Channelizing Devices
  • Warning Lights
  • Advance Warning Arrow Displays
  • Pavement Markings
  • Temporary Traffic Signals
10.4 Technical Aspects of Construction or Maintenance Zone Defect Cases

10.5 Typical Defense Arguments


Chapter 11 - Traffic Control Devices

11.1 Traffic Control Device Requirements
  • Design
  • Placement
  • Operation or Application
  • Maintenance
  • Uniformity
11.2 Driver Information Needs

11.3 Traffic Signs
  • STOP Signs
  • YIELD Signs
  • Warning Signs
  • Road Closure Signs
  • Wrong Way Traffic Control
11.4 Traffic Markings
  • Longitudinal Lines
  • Transverse Pavement Markings
  • Object Markers
  • Roadway Delineators
11.5 Traffic Signals
  • Traffic Signals Warrants
  • Number and Arrangement of Lenses per Signal Face
  • Flashing Signals
  • Size of Signal Lenses
  • Locations and Visibility of Signal Faces
  • Height of Signal Faces
  • Shielding of Signal Faces
  • Signal Out of Operation
  • Yellow Phase-Change Intervals
  • Pedestrian's Signal Needs
  • Hazard Identification Beacon
  • Intersection Control Beacon
  • Left-Turn Signal Displays
11.6 The 1988 MUTCD at Court
  • MUTCD Word Meanings
  • MUTCD Contradictions
  • Lack of Continuity
  • Plaintiff vs. Defendant
  • Summary
11.7 The 2000 MUTCD at Court

11.8 Technical Aspects of Traffic Control Device Defect Cases
  • Hidden Traffic Signs
  • Illusive Traffic Signs
  • Non-Reflective Signs
  • Failure to Warn
  • Wrong Sign for Location
  • Unclear Messages
  • Non-Standard Traffic Signs
  • Warning Sign in Only One Direction
  • Partially Obscured Signs
  • Signs that Directly Indicate Negligence
  • Missing End of Road Markers
  • Obstructions in the Roadway
  • Missing or Faded Pavement Marking
  • Isolated Traffic Signals
  • Signal Visibility Defects
11.9 Typical Defense Arguments


Chapter 12 - Roadway Maintenance

12.1 Unpaved Surfaces Maintenance
  • Corrugations
  • Wheel Ruts
  • Soft Spots
  • Dust
  • Potholes
12.2 Asphalt Pavement Maintenance
  • Corrugations and Shoving
  • Potholes
  • Upheavals and Settlements
  • Flushing
  • Cracks
  • Pavement Edge Drops
  • Wheel Ruts
  • Aggregate Polishing
  • Debris on the Pavement
12.3 Concrete Pavement Maintenance
  • Surface Texture Distress
  • Scaling
  • Crack and Joint Distress
  • Spalling
  • Blowups
  • Frost Heaves
  • Pumping
  • Pavement Edge Drops
  • Debris on the Pavement
12.4 Shoulder Maintenance
  • Earth Shoulders
  • Sod Shoulders
  • Aggregate Surfaced Shoulders
  • Surface Treated Shoulders
  • Paved Shoulders
  • Maintenance of Pavement Edge Drops
12.5 Roadside Drainage and Vegetation Maintenance
  • Drainage Facilities
  • Vegetation Control
  • Roadside Hazard Control
12.6 Traffic Barrier Maintenance
  • Guardrails
  • Bridge Rails
  • Median Barriers
  • Crash Cushions
12.7 Traffic Control Device Maintenance
  • Traffic Signs
  • Traffic Markings
  • Traffic Signals
  • Roadway Lighting
12.8 Snow and Ice Control
  • Winter Maintenance Policies and Plans
  • Storm Watch
  • Training
  • General Maintenance Procedures
  • Snow Plowing
  • Chemical and Abrasive Application
12.9 Technical Aspects of Maintenance Defect Cases
  • Washboard, Wheel Ruts, and Holes on Unpaved Roadways
  • Windrows of Gravel on Unpaved Roadways
  • Dust on Unpaved Roadways
  • Roughness, Potholes, and Bumps on Paved Roadways
  • Gravel on the Pavement
  • Flooded Pavements
  • Soft Shoulders
  • Icy Bridges
  • Sight Distance Obstruction Created by Snow Plowing
  • Snow Plow Cloud
  • Hydroplaning Sections in the Winter
12.10 Typical Defense Arguments


PART II
Paul F. Hill, Esq.


Chapter 13 - Introduction to Part II
  • How This Part Was Researched and Written
  • Governmental Immunity
  • Discretionary and Ministerial Functions
  • Notice: Actual or Constructive
  • Identifying Whom to Claim Against
  • Government Has a Non-delegable Duty
  • Government Is Not an Insurer of Safety
Chapter14 - Traffic Signs: Decision to Install, Missing, Obscured, or Improper

Chapter15 - Traffic Signals: Decision to Install, Timing, Inoperable or Improper

Chapter16 - Curves

Chapter 17 - Potholes and Other Surface Defects

Chapter 18 - Ice, Snow, Sand, Gravel, Oil, or Water on the Road

Chapter 19 - Shoulder, Drop-Off, and Beyond the Shoulder

Chapter 20 - Traffic Barriers: Guardrails, Bridge Rails, and Median Barriers

Chapter 21 - Trees, Poles, Posts, Support Columns, Vegetation Obstructing View

Chapter 22 - Railroad Crossing

Chapter 23 - Objects Thrown, Dropped, or Falling from Bridge or Overpass

Chapter 24 - Collisions with Deer and Other Wild Animals on the Road

Appendices - CD-ROM with coplete copies of the 2001 and 2003 editions of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices and Title 23 of The U.S. Code


About the Author

Dr. John C. Glennon is a traffic engineer with over 45 years experience. He has over 120 publications. He is the author of the book "Roadway Safety and Tort Liability" and is frequently called to testify both about roadway defects and as a crash reconstructionist.

RESUME OF JOHN C. GLENNON




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