Drivers throughout Pennsylvania can now report potholes to local agencies (ie: Penndot, Streets Department of the City of Philadelphia) by utilizing apps on their smartphones which send current locations of potholes via GPS. As reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer article by Reid Kanaley (12/1/11):
Your smartphone must have GPS function for the app to work. When you load it for the first time, the app asks for your e-mail address. After that, if you spot a pothole, just open the app and tap the screen twice to generate a pothole report.After your double tap, you'll be instructed to check your e-mail for a message from SaveMyTire.com. The "pothole report" message will ask you to preview a map showing your pothole location, and then to either tap a link to confirm your report or, if the map is not correct, tap a different link to cancel your report and start over.Confirmed reports go into the SaveMyTire.com database and are e-mailed to the local city, county, or state road department.
This could also prove helpful in establishing notice to municipalities and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania of potholes that cause injury to drivers and passengers who hit them. These types of accidents are usually very difficult to prove despite the fact that hitting a pothole at high speeds while not expecting it can result in serious injuries to the driver and occupant of any car, bus or motorcycle. The laws in Pennsylvania generally require prior written notice of a roadway defect before a successful suit for damages can be brought.
If you feel that they have been wronged by the government because the car you were in hit a pothole, you may be able to seek redress in the courts. However, you should be aware that recovering damages against the government is even more difficult than recovering against a non governmental party. Notice of the pothole by the government if always of particular concern. These new apps will place an interesting twist on the issue of whether a governmental agency was made aware of the pothole and whether anything was done in a reasonable time period to try and fill the pothole or otherwise warn drivers of the danger. Trial lawyers representing victims who sustained injuries when in a vehicle that hit a pothole will now be able to retrieve data sent to SaveMyTire.com and other sites that will prove useful as evidence at trial and at the pretrial stage.