When an Outdated Design Finally Needs to be Put to Bed:
The Government’s “State of the Art” Defense in Road Design Cases
IV. Strategies for Addressing the “State of the Art” Defense
B. Policy Announcements by MHTC
|In addition to guidelines, plaintiff’s counsel can also look to AASHTO to find out the policies of MHTC. In 2008, AASHTO started a program focused on preventing lane departure accidents.56 In the booklet discussing lane departures, then Director of the Missouri Department of Transportation Pete Rahn stated “Missouri has not solved the problem of highway fatalities, but we are taking major steps and producing tremendous results in driving down the number of people dying on our roadways.”57 Right next to Mr. Rahn’s quote is a box titled “Missouri’s System Wide Safety Solutions” listing the following seven policies MHTC had adopted to curb roadway departure accidents:
Much like the system wide “clear cutting” policy MHTC had adopted in Martin, the “System Wide Safety Solutions” described above shows MHTC had a policy implemented across the state to modify highways to improve the design and better protect motorist. Plaintiff’s counsel can turn to this or other statewide policies to show MHTC has abandoned the “state of the art” defense. These policies can also be used to help sketch a discovery plan.
56 AASHTO, Driving Down Lane Departures, (2008), available athttp://downloads.transportation.org/PLD-1.pdf. 57 Id.
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