Georgia Highway 36 was recently the location of two fatal car accidents, each of which involved overturned vehicles and drivers who crossed the center line. The two accidents occurred within 24 hours of each other. In the first accident, the driver of a pickup truck crossed the center line and struck a tractor-trailer. The pickup truck driver was partially ejected from his vehicle and found dead by authorities when they arrived at the scene of the accident. The tractor trailer overturned in an embankment, but the driver of that vehicle remained uninjured. In the second accident, the driver of a sedan hit two cars, one of which flipped and landed in the southbound lane. The second car struck was hit head on, but the passengers remained unharmed. The driver of the sedan was pronounced dead on-site.
When two accidents occur on the same road in a short time span, questions about the road’s conditions are likely to be raised. In Georgia, dangerous roads can be the sole cause or one of several factors leading to an an injury-causing accident. Dangerous roads can be found all across Georgia, from the mountains in the northern part of the state to two-lane roadways in small towns to multi-lane freeways in Atlanta or Macon. Problems with the roadways can range from poor maintenance of the road itself and surrounding foliage to the road’s initial construction and design. Hidden road signs or an absence of signs and traffic controls can also lead to serious accident and injury.
A related Georgia Supreme Court case, Scarborough et al v. Hunter et al, discussed at length a county’s obligation under state law to maintain roads within the county. The County Board of Commissioners abandoned a 3000 foot long road that served no existing homes or businesses. Owners of undeveloped lots disagreed with the Board’s decision and sued for the Board to set aside the abandonment decision and return to repairing and maintaining the road. The road had several problems with cracking and was determined to be unstable and unsafe. Several other actions followed including a temporary restraining order and a bench trial for the mandamus and attorney fees. The lower ultimately ruled that the Board’s decision to abandon the road was arbitrary and capricious and set aside their decision to abandon the road. Continue reading