Driving Safety on Rhode Island Bridges

m_sailboat_toward_verrazano_narrows_bridge-2-300x234It’s not uncommon to see drivers speeding down the highway throughout the state; an unfortunate fact that Attorney David Tapalian sees the repercussions of first-hand as a personal injury lawyer in Rhode Island for over two decades.  Precariously, the speeding trend also applies to bridges, specifically the Newport Pell and Jamestown Verrazzano Bridges, as shown in a study by the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Administration late this summer. Perhaps partially triggered by safety concerns and complaints of loud traffic noise by locals, the study conducted an investigation to determine how many vehicles operated according to the posted speed limits on the bridges and the results were startling. On the Pell Bridge, 70% of people were found to be driving at least 11 miles per hour over the speed limit and 66% of vehicles were doing the same on the Verrazzano Bridge. For context, the speed limit for the Pell Bridge is 40mph, but the average speed people drove was 53mph. The Verrazzano Bridge speed limit is 45mph, but vehicles were travelling 59mph, on average.

Car Accidents on Bridges 

Bridges can already be a hazardous place for drivers before speeding is added into the mix. When a motorist drives across any bridge, they are placing their trust in the engineers, architects, and construction workers who designed and built the structure. Errors can result in structural failures, even a whole infrastructure collapse. If bridges aren’t regularly inspected for safety hazards, they can incur damage that, if left unrepaired, could result in a treacherous situation. For example, if two cars collide in an accident near the edge of a bridge with a missing or damaged guardrail, it’s possible for one or both vehicles to fall off the side into the water or highway below. Visibility can also be difficult on bridges without adequate lighting, making it difficult for motorists to visualize their surroundings. In addition, car accidents on bridges frequently occur at the entrance or exit ramps, especially if there is inadequate signage or a tricky merge with other vehicles.

As huge pieces of infrastructure requiring regular upkeep, construction on bridges can be a frequent necessity and requires extra caution from drivers. Compounding the hazards of speeding discovered on the Pell and Verrazzano bridges is the construction currently underway on both, making the situation all the riskier to both drivers and construction workers. The Pell Bridge has begun phase two of a scheduled project to make the road safer and easier to navigate with a focus on creating a ramp system that officials hope will decrease the amount of congestion. Other parts of the project involve creating a bike path and removing elevated portions of the bridge. Even with improvements to bridges, drivers need to be cautious to maintain a level of safety for themselves and those around them. Specifically in busy tourist spots like Newport and Jamestown, many out of towners are unfamiliar with the local traffic rules, or choose to ignore them. If you are involved in an accident in Newport, Jamestown, or elsewhere in Rhode Island or Massachusetts, its crucial to seek advice from a highly experienced personal injury attorney like David Tapalian who can hold the negligent driver responsible for your damages.

Recent Auto Collisions on Bridges in RI

In January 2020, a 70-year-old woman died when her car crashed into the concrete barrier and pole surrounding a toll booth on Pell Bridge. A month later, another crash occurred on the Pell Bridge involving multiple cars traveling in the high-speed lane. The Jamestown Verrazano Bridge also has had its fair share of accidents, such as a September 2020 crash involving a tractor-trailer hitting a water barrier.

Tapalian Law Can Help You After a Car Accident in RI or MA

No matter how your accident occurred, it’s important to seek legal advice right away from a highly qualified personal injury lawyer in RI or MA, to determine your eligibility to file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for your losses such as medical bills, hospital expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. With over 20 years of legal expertise in RI, MA, and FL, Tapalian Law’s injury team has helped hundreds of clients successfully win compensation from their injuries caused by auto accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle crashes, worksite accidents, medical malpractice, and slip and falls. Call a top-rated personal injury attorney in RI for a free consultation at 401-552-5000, or contact Tapalian Law online.

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