If you’ve ever suffered whiplash while navigating a street marred by potholes or sat in traffic for three hours on the way home from work, you understand the motivation behind #DriveBetterRoads, an initiative spearheaded by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) to increase funding to state transportation departments. The organization hopes to convince legislators to inject $100 million into the improvement of America’s roads.
The Battle Against Traffic Congestion
Thanks to exploding populations, poor road maintenance, and incomplete projects, intense traffic congestion plagues most American cities. The most congested cities include Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, and New York City, according to Nationwide Insurance. However, the problem extends from major metropolitan areas to suburban neighborhoods and even small towns.
Driver frustration, increased fuel expenses, and reduced efficiency all result from traffic congestion, especially when it occurs on a daily basis and not as a result of a one-time situation, such as an accident. If the government funnels money into road construction and improvement, citizens enjoy more fluid commutes to work and less stressful travel overall.
The Consequences of Poor Road Safety
In 2013, more than 30,000 fatal car crashes occurred on U.S. roads, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. While numerous factors play a part in traffic accidents, poor road conditions create an unsafe environment for all motorists. The dangers increase significantly when poorly maintained roads conspire with inclement weather and other environmental hazards.
If a car hits a pothole at 70 miles per hour, for example, and pops a tire, it might spin out of control and collide with other vehicles. The potential for calamity increases when road hazards sneak up on drivers around blind curves or lack signage to alert motorists to the danger. In addition to highways and other major thoroughfares, bridges and surface streets also require attention.
The Cost of Property Damage
Not only does poor road safety result in injuries and fatalities among drivers, but it also causes millions of dollars in property damage over the course of a year. Americans rely on their vehicles to attend work, see the doctor, and shop for groceries. When a vehicle suffers serious damage, its owner loses his or her mode of transportation – sometimes for an extended period of time.
According to the #DriveBetterRoads Website, the average U.S. citizen spends $444 on vehicle repairs every year. Mechanical issues stem from accidents as well as from wear and tear caused by excessive traffic congestion, as mentioned above. Many Americans cannot afford to repair or replace their vehicles after damage occurs.
The Potential Benefits for the Economy
AGC started the #DriveBetterRoads campaign to raise awareness about road conditions and to lobby for additional funds to protect American motorists. However, this initiative also presents potential benefits for the construction industry.
Contracts awarded for road repair and maintenance inject millions of dollars into the pockets of construction professionals. This leads to a healthier construction industry as a whole as well as improved job availability and security for workers.
To help raise awareness, AGC asks social media users to utilize the hashtags #DriveBetterRoads and #StandUp4Transportation in their communications. If the organization successfully encourages lawmakers to support and maintain America’s roads, both motorists and construction professionals benefit.