What we learn when we lose
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What We Learn When We Lose - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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What We Learn When We Lose. LAWSUITS. LAWSUITS. How Do You put a giraffe into a refrigerator?. Open the refrigerator, put in the giraffe, and close the door. This questions tests whether you tend to do simple things in an overly complicated way. How Do You

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What We Learn When We Lose

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What We LearnWhen We Lose



How Do You

put a giraffe into a refrigerator?

Open the refrigerator,

put in the giraffe,

and close the door.

  • This questions tests whether you tend to do simple things in an overly complicated way.

How Do You

put an elephant into a refrigerator?

Open the refrigerator, take out the giraffe, put in the elephant and close the door.

  • This tests your ability to think through the repercussions of your previous actions.

The Lion King

is hosting an animal conference.

All the animals attend. . . except one.

Which animal does not attend?

The Elephant. The elephant is in the refrigerator. You just put him in there.

  • This tests your memory.

There is a river you must cross

but it is used by crocodiles, and you do not have a boat.

How do you manage it?

You jump into the river and swim across. Have you not been listening? All the crocodiles are attending the Animal Meeting.

  • This tests whether you listen, or whether you jump to assumptions.

  • K-74 in Atchison County

  • Late April around 9:30 p.m.

  • One vehicle accident

  • In the car is the driver, and five passengers, ages 2, 14, 15, 16, and 17.

  • The car fails to negotiate a curve and hits a tree.

  • The driver and 14 year old passenger are killed.

  • All other passengers are life-flighted from the scene.

  • KDOT is sued by the 2 year old, the 14 year old the 15 year old, the 16 year old, and the 17 year old.

  • No claim is made for the death of the driver.

Video logs show that the road was signed like this by at least 1997. A video log dated 1994 shows three object markers. There is no evidence that the curve ever had a large arrow or chevrons.

Lessons to be Learned

  • Drive the roads like you have never driven them before. How would this look to a person unfamiliar with the road traveling it at night?

  • If you change the traffic control, ask yourself, “How does this change affect other traffic control in the area?”

  • US-24 in Pottawatomie County

  • US-24 is four lane divided highway

  • All four lanes of US-24 just recently opened

  • The EB lanes of US-24 need some further work on the passing lane edge line.

  • EB passing lane is closed.

  • Plaintiff is a passenger traveling SB on a county road. Plaintiff’s vehicle is struck while crossing the EB lanes on US-24.

  • Accident occurs in September 98. Daytime. Bright and sunny.

Lessons to be Learned

  • Projects will encounter needs for traffic control that were not expected. Try to anticipate what situations are going to arise.

  • Know what different traffic control devices mean and use the correct ones.

  • If you don’t know how to handle a situation, call someone who does.

  • US-59 in Jefferson County

  • Late August, 1:00 p.m., bright and sunny day.

  • Project is crack repair preparing the surface for an overlay.

  • 2 lane roadway.

  • Flagman operation.

  • Stopped at the flagman is a white dodge carrying mom and 1 year old son.

  • Second vehicle in line is a red Ford carrying mom, dad, 2 year old son and 3 year old daughter.

Lessons to be Learned

  • More signs are not always best.

  • Especially when those signs are wrong.

  • Pay attention to the “little things” like flags.

  • Pay attention to your traffic control plans – everyday.

  • US-24 in Pottawatomie County

  • US-24 is under construction. The project is changing the road from two lane to four lane.

  • Accident occurred in early November, 1997.

  • Plaintiff is traveling SB on a rural road.

  • Semi is traveling EB on US-24.

  • US – 24 and rural road prior to accident.

  • US-24 and rural road on day of accident.

Lessons to be Learned

  • Check your traffic control – everyday and every time you travel through a project.

  • Remember you may have traffic control in locations where no work is going on.

  • Know what the traffic control layout is suppose to be.

  • US-77 bypass around Arkansas City

  • October 31, November 1, and 2.

  • Number injured – 100’s

  • Number suing KDOT – 16 property owners

  • The claim is that the construction of the bypass resulted in flooding.

  • Flood was between the 75 and 100 year level.

  • All property owners, except one, had no protection prior to the construction of the bypass/levee.

Lessons to be Learned

  • Write what you mean. Whether it be in letters, minutes to meetings, diaries, etc.

  • Letters, minutes to meetings, diaries, etc. are not forms. What you write may have to be explained by you someday.

  • US-69 in Miami County

  • Man, his wife and adult daughter are traveling southbound when they strike a cow in the roadway.

  • The mother is killed. The daughter is injured to the point where working is difficult. The husband suffers minor injuries.

  • KDOT is sued because there is one broken fence post in the right of way fence.

  • The allegation is that the cow got onto the road through the broken fence post.

  • Fences by virtue of their legal and physical protection:

    a.Control Access;

    b.Provide Safety to the Traveling Public;

    c.Prevent indiscriminate crossing of medians or ramps by vehicles or pedestrians; and

    d.Prevent encroachments on the right of way.

  • Fences which have been damaged to the extent that their effectiveness is severely reduced should be repaired immediately. A temporary repair may be necessary until permanent repairs can be made.

  • State-owned fences should be inspected a minimum of once per year and repairs made where needed.

Lessons to be Learned

  • Read your policies.

  • If the policy says something that cannot be done or is not done – change the policy or start doing what the policy says.

  • Speak the truth. Say only what needs to be said.

Language as Rewritten After the Lawsuit

  • Fences are used to “delineate access control” for a highway by serving as a boundary marker. They are used in the same way that right-of-way markers or controlled access signs are used, with or without fence, to identify the access control line.

  • Fences which have been damaged, should be repaired in a reasonable time frame. A temporary repair may be necessary until permanent repairs can be made.

  • State-owned fences should be inspected periodically and repairs made where needed.


  • In order to insure citizens (and especially elderly citizens) a uniform and high quality roadway environment, states should establish a policy for installation of visual information devices.

  • Signs and road markings must be designed to accommodate drivers with the weakest eyes and the slowest reaction times.

Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, 2003 Edition

  • Section 2A.19 – Standard

    Ground-mounted sign supports shall be breakaway, yielding, or shielded with a longitudinal barrier or crash cushion if within the clear zone.

  • Section 2A.21– Standard

    Sign posts, foundations, and mountings shall be so constructed as to hold signs in a proper and permanent position, and to resist swaying in the wind or displacement by vandalism.

  • Section 3A.02– Standard

    Markings that must be visible at night shall be retroreflective unless ambient illumination ASSURES that the markings are adequately visible.

  • Recommended language.

    Markings that should be visible at night shall be retroreflective unless ambient illumination provides reasonable visibility.

  • 6E.01 – Guidance

    Flaggers should be able to satisfactorily demonstrate the following abilities: Ability to move and maneuver quickly in order to avoid danger from errant vehicles.

    Recommended language:

    Ability to move and maneuver in a reasonably quick manner.

  • Figure VI-63 shows a short-term road closure caused by an unplanned incident such as a traffic accident that blocks the traveled way. . . . The local traffic engineering department will probably be needed to determine the detour route and install the signs.

Lessons to be Learned

  • When writing “standards” be objective.

  • Do NOT have contradictory statements in the same document (or even different documents.)

  • Remove the words “assure”, insure” and “ensure” from all manuals, policies, writings, documents, etc.

  • Q. And where was the location of the accident?

  • Approximately milepost 499.

  • And where is milepost 499?

  • A. Probably between milepost 498 and 500.

  • Did you blow your horn or anything?

  • After the accident.

  • Before the accident?

  • Sure, I played for ten years.

  • I even went to school for it.

  • How far apart were the vehicles

  • at the time of the collision?

  • Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you

  • check for a pulse?

  • No.

  • Did you check for blood pressure?

  • No.

  • Did you check for breathing?

  • No.

  • So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when

  • you began the autopsy?

  • No.

  • How can you be so sure, Doctor?

A. Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.

Q. But could the patient have still been alive nevertheless?

  • It is possible that he could have been alive and

  • practicing law somewhere.



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