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Was the road negligent?

Car accidents often occur for many of the typical reasons. Drunken driving remains a significant cause for thousands of car and truck crashes. Other types of negligence are frequently manifested by speeding, weaving in and out of lanes and similar reckless behavior.

And there is the whole distracted driving issue, which today typically refers to driving while texting or using a cellphone, but in a broader sense includes any activity that takes a driver's attention of the road and traffic in front of their vehicle. 

In addition to electronic device distraction, there is everything from reading a report for your first meeting on your way in to work, putting on make-up, shaving, eating breakfast and turning around to separate squabbling siblings.

All of these and many more activities can cause that second or two of distraction that can lead to a crash or collision.

But there are additional factors that can lead to deadly accidents. Sometimes, the road itself may be a contributory factor in a crash. Last month, a head-on collision in Lincoln County left three dead, including a father and his 1-year-old son.

Residents are placing part of the blame in the curvy rural road, which is narrow with no shoulders. The crash occurred at sunset and the sun may have been blinding to the driver of the vehicle that crossed the centerline and crashed into the family's van.

Roads that may have been adequate when they were built decades ago, and saw more tractors than cars, but today they are ill-suited for the 55-mile-per-hour traffic rushing from housing developments that have sprung out of former corn fields.

A MoDot spokesperson noted they know the road needs improvements, but they lack the money to fix it. While the road itself cannot be negligent, the failure to make improvements to a known dangerous, highway begins to look like negligence when people die.

Fox2now.com, "Survivor of deadly crash wants road fixed," Paul Schankman, September 22, 2014

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