The Risks of Driving a Truck on Leased Roads

The Risks of Driving a Truck on Leased RoadsNavigation and GPS systems lead truck drivers all over the United States, guiding them through bustling cities as well as the (often) unpaved country roads. While they may think that these less traveled or deserted roads are just ordinary roads that the city or government has forgotten about, they are sometimes leased or private roads that come with several risks that can lead to traumatic or even devastating truck accidents.

What are leased roads?

In certain industries – oil and gas is one of them – owners may lease the land next to a field or work area in order to create roads for their workers. This means that the local government does not have to maintain them or keep them up. Instead, it is the responsibility of the person or company that owns the road to ensure that these private roads are safe and hazard-free for those passing through. However, the harsh reality is that these roads are often poorly maintained. Check any trucker forum and you’ll find comments and complaints about the condition of the roads they need to travel. (You can watch this video of an oil and gas worker on a lease road in another state.) Therefore, when they become damaged, it may take a long time before the owner or leasing company fixes or repairs them, resulting in dangerous and deadly accidents, especially among large commercial trucks and 18-wheelers.

Five risks of driving a truck on leased roads

  1. Horrible road conditions: Lease roadways can have dangerous potholes, inadequate lighting, sharp and sudden curves and turns, and even unexpected animals roaming the roads. During the cold and winter months, the owners of leased roads typically do not plow or remove snow or ice in a prompt manner, which can cause commercial and semi-trucks to roll over or slide off the road.
  2. Lack of supervision or rules: When driving on a leased or private road, you must be aware of the fact that there is little to no supervision or rules when compared to public roads. The government cannot keep a close eye on the leased roads, tell the owners what to do, or even create rules that they must follow.

When it comes to public roads, the government is known to implement regulations, ensure that safety standards are being met, and frequently conduct safety inspections. However, since the city does not have jurisdiction over the private roads, it is not their responsibility to do these tasks, which may cause unsafe driving conditions for truckers.

  1. Less safety precautions or preventive measures taken: Public highways, interstates, and roadways are often equipped with stop signs, stop lights, guardrails, lane markings, speed bumps, and more. These are safety precautions and preventative measures that are put in place to ensure that drivers know when to stop, slow down, proceed, and yield the right of way. However, leased roads generally lack these precautions and preventive measures, which can lead to truck drivers making guesses and putting their own and other people’s safety at risk.
  2. Road conditions can change quickly: For example, a leased road owner may decide to start paving the first half of their road, leaving the other half rocky and unstable. This can cause safety issues for truck drivers as they may be driving smoothly on the first half of the newly paved road. Then, suddenly, they may encounter huge potholes and rocky surfaces, leading to a flat tire, blowout tire accident, or another serious truck accident.
  3. Difficult for ambulances and law enforcement to access: One of the big risks that many people may not think about is that leased roads can be more difficult for ambulances and law enforcement to access. For instance, if a truck driver wrecks on a dirt or gravel road that has severe potholes and other issues, the ambulances and police vehicles may have trouble driving to the truck or even finding where exactly the accident occurred. Depending on how poor the road conditions are, the lighting available, and how rural the leased road is, the trucker could be waiting for hours before law enforcement and emergency medical technicians are able to get to him or her to provide medical assistance.

Truck drivers who are driving around Oklahoma City can look at the signs to determine if they are currently on a private or public road. Lease roads, however, may have no markings at all, or may have gates that stop you from moving forward at a certain spot. As such, you may find yourself on a lease road and not realize it until it’s too late.

If you are a truck driver who has been injured on a private or leased road, the Oklahoma City truck accident lawyers at Cunningham & Mears are here to legally represent you. Truck accident cases involving leased or private roads can be more challenging and complicated than those involving public roads, but our team is ready, prepared, and available to take on this task. We believe that your safety is important no matter where you travel, and we will do everything we can to hold the road owner or leasing company accountable for their negligent actions. Call us or complete our contact form to schedule your free and confidential case evaluation today.