Monroe, Ohio is in Butler County, next to the boundary of Hamilton County, home of Cincinnati. Due to urban sprawl, the country town of Monroe is an official Cincinnati suburb.
Recently repaved, Monroe’s two-lane Millikin Road had a sharp drop-off along the edge. Resurfaced many times throughout its 30 years of service, the road’s asphalt was several inches higher than ground level. The original road builder did not provide a safety shoulder, and the Ohio Department of Transportation never bothered to make the addition. The winding road had an unposted 55 mph speed limit. It was a challenge even for a seasoned driver to negotiate the curves on Millikin while staying within the lane.
Unsafe roads can lead to accidents
One Friday evening, four Monroe teens were traveling on Millikin Road to a high school dance. A 17-year-old student was driving an older-model compact car when she lost control of her vehicle. It slipped off the right edge of the road. Panicked by the jolt, she overcorrected, and the small car skipped through a ditch and slammed into a telephone pole. The three students wearing seatbelts were seriously injured. Fortunately, they did not become casualties, and the hospital eventually released them. The crash ejected an unbelted student from the back seat of the vehicle. She did not survive her catastrophic injuries.
A Monroe resident who had lived on Milliken Road for three decades knew first-hand about the treacherous road’s bad accident record. Over the years, he had replaced his mailbox 10 times from vehicle crash damage. When he heard the car’s impact that night, he went outside and witnessed the tragic aftermath. He told a local news channel he saw the nearly unrecognizable vehicle, adding that, in his opinion, even a racecar driver could not have recovered after speeding over the vertical drop of the road’s edge.
Defective road characteristics
The American Society of Civil Engineers tracks the nation’s infrastructure decay, including the declining condition of America’s roads. Each year, they report their findings. Ohio roads received a poor report for the most recent ASCE analysis.
Defective roads are a common cause of catastrophic injuries and fatalities to unsuspecting drivers. When a vehicle slips off an aging road or its shoulder, drivers attempt to overcorrect. Instead of correcting, they trap their tires into scrubbing along the road edge. This action prevents the vehicle from regaining traction unless the driver uses extra force to sharply turn the steering wheel. As a result, a vehicle can jump onto the pavement and whip across the centerline into oncoming traffic.
Whether vehicle accidents result from erosion and wear on existing roads or crashes due to negligence in providing high-visibility road hazard signage, these accidents cause a large number of lawsuits against states and road construction firms each year.