This case involves a tractor-trailer accident in North Dakota involving multiple commercial vehicles. The accident occurred when a driver lost control of his truck and crashed on the side of the road, with part of the trailer still in the roadway. As a result, multiple subsequent crashes occurred, including the plaintiff’s vehicle. The Plaintiff’s estate alleged that department of transportation failed to properly maintain the roadway for hazardous weather conditions, failed to warn drivers of adverse weather conditions, and failed to adequately cease its plows from driving through an accident scene.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Are you familiar with procedures taken to maintain roadways during inclement weather?
- 2. Are you familiar with procedures taken to warn motorists of inclement weather affecting roadways?
- 3. Can you speak to proper procedure in securing a roadway once an accident has occurred?
- 4. Can you speak to procedure surrounding public works operations, such as snowplows, in the event an accident has occurred on scheduled maintenance route?
Expert Witness Response
I am familiar with these matters, and can advise on materials to request in discovery. I have not been involved in directing or creating transportation-safety policy, however, I was a member of a municipal police department accident reconstruction team. Over the course of my career, I have been involved in cases roadway conditions may have contributed to an accident. The key issues here are regarding the actual condition of the road, whether it was the sole or proximate cause of the accident, and what was the maintaining agency’s notice of the problem. Regarding the snowplows at the scene of the accident, there are specific procedures that are required by the Manual on Uniform Traffic Devices in this type of situation. I am very well versed in this area, as well as in traffic engineering and accident reconstruction.
Expert Witness Response E-037087
I am familiar with winter operations as a safety investigator and a snowplow operator. I also have experience in writing and enforcing policies and procedures in this area. It appears that law enforcement and ODOT failed to properly secure the scene potentially failing to maintain the route in accordance with their policies. Every state’s policies and procedures are slightly different so it will be important to see which policies and procedures were in effect at the time.