Deteriorating highway shoulders can cause auto accidents with personal injuries and wrongful deaths on our roadways. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) says about 11,000 people get hurt and some 160 people actually die per year in motor vehicle accidents associated with dangerous pavement edges around highway shoulders of the roadway. The figures have resulted in a cost of approximately $1.2 billion.
The highway shoulder may be in a defective state if there is a dangerous drop-off zone between the roadway edge paving and the shoulder. These drop-offs are really unsafe when uneven height differences are present between road and shoulder surfaces. What sometimes happens here is vehicle stability is jeopardized and causes the driver to lose handling of the car.
Common causes of highway shoulders becoming dangerously defective may be roadway erosion and/or roadway wear and tear. This seems to be the most common cause of uneven pavement edge drop-offs. However, resurfacing performed on a roadway without including a “proper” transition in to the shoulder has also been noted as a possible factor in pavement edge defects.