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Dangerous driving: the poor condition of roads
Friday, October 5th, 2012

The odds are good that you drove or were a passenger in a
car today. Even though the rate of car ownership is declining among Americans,
there is still approximately 1
vehicle for every 2 people
. It’s
indisputable that we rely – heavily– on our highway and road system.

So is it surprising to learn that over
33% of major U.S. roads are in “substandard” condition
, according to Pew
Research?

It shouldn’t be – there have been
warning shots
for the last decade. Our failure to invest in the
transportation infrastructure in this country – or to even keep up with road
maintenance through the federal
gas tax
– means that we have been shortchanging our highways for years. The
increase in freight traffic as more semi-trucks move goods across the country
and the recent patterns of extreme weather aren’t helping.

  • 18% of Oregon’s major roads are in poor or
    mediocre condition
  • 33% of Washington’s major roads are in poor or
    mediocre condition
  • 66% of California’s major roads are in poor or
    mediocre condition (See the
    state-by-state report
    )

Bad road conditions aren’t just an inconvenience. Cracked
and crumbling roads not only cause excessive wear on cars and trucks, but
factor into the number of motor vehicle
accidents
. Potholes, uneven pavement, and poorly maintained roadsides can
all lead to vehicle damage and car accidents. Traffic deaths
are already up 9%
percent in the first half of 2012
 -
although the reason for the spike is still unclear.  

U.S.
motorists pay approximately $67 billion per year in repairs and operating costs

as a result of poor road conditions.  While
Congress recently passed a surface transportation bill
(the previous one
had expired nearly 3 years ago, resulting in serious transportation funding
issues for states), it is a stop-gap measure that leaves the future funding uncertain.

If we continue to fail to invest in the nation’s roads, we
will soon be facing a rapid increase in infrastructure deterioration – and more
public safety issues. 

Contact your U.S.
Representative


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