The Kaohsiung Branch of the Taiwan High Court rendered the 106-Shang-Kuo-Yi-5 Civil Decision of August 30, 2017 (hereinafter, the “Decision”), holding that if a section of a road managed by a competent authority is uneven and is not timely repaired or addressed to reduce the height gap of the road, this is an inadequacy in the installation and management of infrastructure.
The Plaintiff filed a complaint, alleging that when his son rode his motorcycle to the section of the road at issue, the motorcycle became difficult to control as it ran over a 13 cm drop between the edge of the asphalt surface on a slow lane and the gutter right next to it. In consequence, the motorcycle hit an electricity pole, resulting in his son’s death (hereinafter, the “Accident at Issue”). Therefore, the Plaintiff filed the complaint to seek national compensation.
According to the Decision, it is pointed out that now that the state has constructed highways for public access, their smooth and danger-free passage should be maintained. The passage of roads and bridges for public access should be smooth and free from danger. In case of damaged road surfaces or collapsed or severed roads, which are sufficient to result in passage danger, it should be deemed that the normally required safety is lacking and that the managing agency should repair them as soon as possible. Although the unevenness of the road section at issue was located outside of the edge lines of the road at the junction of the road and a gutter, this should still fall within the scope of highways and falls within the scope of the Defendant’s maintenance responsibility even though this is part of a “road shoulder.”
This Decision further pointed out that the safety of people or vehicles accessing the road was impaired since the road section at issue as managed by the Defendant was uneven and could not be patched or handled to reduce that the drop in height, and that the road section at issue was not in a normally required state or with normally required functions. In light of the causal relationship between the deficient installation and management of the infrastructure and the accident at issue to the Plaintiff’s son but in consideration of the negligence of the Plaintiff’s son for driving fatigue, the Decision was rendered only partially in favor of the Plaintiff.