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What Are The Main Causes of Accidents on Bridges?

December 29, 2022
Image of a car crash under a bridge.

Bridges are an essential part of New York’s infrastructure. But motor vehicle crashes that take place on NY bridges can lead to severe injuries or death to drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. Bridges confine drivers and significantly limit the space they need to avoid reckless drivers, road hazards, and wrecks.

When you suffer injuries in a bridge accident because you were unable to navigate a hazardous situation safely due to another person or entity’s negligence, you may be entitled to seek compensation in a personal injury claim.

Negligent Driving Behavior is a Top Cause of NY Bridge Accidents

The NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) owns, maintains, and operates 789 tunnels and bridges throughout the city, including four tunnels, two movable bridges, and the Brooklyn, Williamsburg, Manhattan, and Ed Koch Queensboro Bridges. These bridges allow people to connect communities, reduce long commutes, and transport goods in and out of the city. But the negligent acts of impaired, aggressive, or distracted drivers can make these bridges dangerous, even deadly, in a snap.

Distracted drivers can easily drift to the wrong lane and crash into a pedestrian or another vehicle or hit the guardrail. Drunk or drugged drivers can likewise be especially dangerous on bridges because their impaired cognitive and visual skills can prevent them from navigating cramped traffic patterns and narrow lanes.

In addition, most bridge shoulders provide minimal space to safely avoid collisions. When a crash occurs, oncoming drivers may only have limited space to maneuver around the wreck or for emergency workers to respond safely, resulting in a larger and more complex accident scene.

Poor Maintenance Also Causes NY Bridge Accidents

Up to 200,000 vehicles cross various NY bridges daily. But according to a recent study by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), these bridges are in “poor or worse condition.” The study also found that the Belt, Henry Hudson, and Grand Central Parkways and the Cross Bronx and Brooklyn-Queens expressways have one or more structurally deficient bridges.

Driving over a pothole can lead to a tire blowout, causing the car to swerve into oncoming traffic or the bridge’s guardrails or concrete walls. Other motorists may have nowhere to go, while impatient motorists may risk meeting oncoming bridge traffic to avoid the crash, raising the risk of more serious crashes.

Missing guardrails and ineffective drainage systems are likewise valid risks during rainy weather. Moving or standing water can wash away or stall vehicles, which leaves the government entity and other parties responsible for maintaining the bridge open to negligence claims for failure to install, design, or maintain protective rails and functional drains.

Get Legal Guidance From a Top NY Personal Injury Attorney Now

If another person or entity’s negligent actions injured you or a loved one in a bridge accident in New York, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the NY personal injury attorneys at Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman. We will determine whom you can hold liable for your losses and your best legal options moving forward. Contact us online or dial 212-285-3300 to schedule your complimentary consultation with our NY personal injury attorney.


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