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Current & Recent Research at Penn Law

File: [View Document]
Author: Corbett, Angus
Citation: Angus Corbett, "The Missing Dimension of Safety: Accommodating complex systems of networked governance in tort" (2011)
Date Published: 2011
Date Posted: 01/21/2018
Subjects: Law and Regulatory Systems
Keywords: Government Regulation
Roads are places where life happens and people suffer injuries. The accidents that produce these injuries are often complex and difficult to prevent. Those injured often seek compensation from public bodies that are responsible for designing, building, maintaining and managing roads. The gist of these actions is the failure of these bodies to prevent harm. Where these actions are successful, publicly funded bodies that have a limited capacity to prevent harm are required to support the payment of compensation. But a failure to award compensation often appears to collude in a pattern of inaction by those bodies. This article charts out a path for tort law to take account of these concerns and to engage with the problem of improving safety. It argues that tort law can be a mechanism for exploring the vulnerability of all road users to suffer injuries in accidents. The recognition of our vulnerability to harm when using roads can create an ethical space in which citizens, governments and statutory authorities recognise the limited capacity of our institutions to reduce preventable harms on roads. The creation of this space would make it possible to have an informed discussion about the costs and benefits of improved safety systems.