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Bad roads cause Californians to pay more for vehicle maintenance expenses than residents of other states, according to a recent study. A California injury lawyer discusses the findings.

A recent study from the Washington, D.C. based nonprofit group, TRIP, found that Californians pay more to drive than the rest of the country. The reason? Bad roads. Driving on roads with deteriorated pavement and potholes accelerates the time in which it takes for a vehicle to deteriorate, in turn, increasing the frequency of required maintenance and fuel consumption, ultimately costing drivers more annually. While the national average for additional vehicle operating costs from   driving on roads with inadequate pavement is $402 a year, Californians spend up to $756. Drivers paying the most each year live in San Jose ($756), Los Angeles ($746), and San Francisco ($706). 

“This is not the first study to highlight the poor road conditions in California,” remarked a California injury lawyer. “Many of our highways have been in disrepair for years, leading the state to possess some of the nation’s most dangerous roads.”

Earlier this month, the Reason Foundation gave California the worst ranking for urban interstate congestion (50th) and the second-to-worst ranking for urban interstate conditions (49th). The foundation did, however, place California 13th in the nation for highway fatalities. Californians may have to deal with bad roads, but at least they are relatively safe. 

Dependence on our nation’s roads and highways increased from 1990 to 2008, and, according to the study, will continue to do so through 2030. Between 1990 and 2008, vehicle travel increased by 39%; travel by large commercial trucks, which place significant stress on road surfaces, increased by 49%. By 2030, vehicle travel is expected to increase by 35% and truck travel by 64%. 

The conditions on an increasing number of our country’s roadways that already require significant rehabilitation and reconstruction are projected to worsen due to insufficient funding, according to a 2008 U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) study. At present, $14 billion is being spent annually across all levels of government to maintain urban roads and highways—$12.6 billion short of the amount the DOT estimates is needed. Moreover, the study indicated that the U.S. faces a $189 billion shortfall in the cost of maintaining roadways through 2025. These numbers
exclude the cost of improvements, which would equate to $39 billion annually and $375 billion through 2025. 

The economic benefits of improving road conditions include reducing travel times, increasing load-carrying abilities and safety, and reducing the operating costs of maintaining vehicles by $5.20 for each $1 spent, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Road improvement programs would also create jobs in the construction sector. 

Additional information on California’s roads is available to the public free of charge. To request a book or an article, or to speak with a California injury lawyer, feel free to call 866-981-5596.

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