I.There are several ways to address these liability
dissemination of all RWIS information directly to the public is not
necessarily the best strategy and will most
likely open up agencies to higher chances of litigation. By limiting the
amount of information shared with the public
and other given entities, agencies can manage their liability while maximizing
the practical value to the public.
The prominent display of disclaimers associated with
RWIS data is another popular vehicle for reducing liability issues. These provide a valuable legal protection for
web site operators. However, disclaimers legal powers are not always iron clad in litigation and should be
constructed with the help of a legal expert.
data can be used by those who access it is another way to reduce liability. This will also give DOTs awareness
over who is accessing their data and how they are using it, as well as making use of contract and copyright law
through indemnity clauses and copyright grants.
Maximizing the operational efficiency of a given system
also protects against RWIS-related liability because data is provided in an accurate and timely manner. Making
sure that the data that goes out is quality can address RWIS-related liability concerns very well.
DOTs can also host outreach and education activities
related to driving during adverse weather and educating on RWIS technologies and the DOT maintenance practices.
Many DOTs use public relations programs or post explanatory statements, winter maintenance policies or winter driving
tips on their sites.
Risk-management strategies can also be explored. This
means that DOTs identify potential exposure to potential crashes and tort liability with the general goal to
minimize both fiscal impact of tort claims and public harm.
Ongoing allocation of funds towards RWIS programs is
necessary to meet the needs of the public even in the midst of a trench in transportation funding. While
allocating money towards RWIS programs may only seem linear, the external effects of those fiscal considerations are
large including increased efficiency and productivity; positive effects on roadway safety; reduced likelihood of
litigation; and preemption of costly, responsive maintenance or system-wide upgrades.
There is also the legislative route which may be able to
reduce liability on RWIS-related claims by granting limitations and immunity to the state when a
weather-influenced accident occurs.
Legislators can also play a fundamental role in the
ongoing funding of RWIS programs for DOTs by granting public funding towards bolstering RWIS-related funding.