Whether or not you realize it, traffic marking paint is a lucrative industry. The painting material that’s used on roads, in parking lots, and on airport surfaces had an overall value of $454 million in 2014. But just because it’s profitable doesn’t mean it’s appreciated — especially when it’s disruptive and frustrating, like when the lives (and cars) of Pennsylvania drivers recently became a bit more colorful due to some mistimed road painting.
Earlier this month, Wilkes-Barre residents were forced to deal with damages sustained as a result of wet traffic paint on the streets. Although the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation maintains that this paint is supposed to dry in 90 seconds, drivers have evidence to the contrary.
Several motorists reported yellow splattering on their vehicles from the freshly painted lines. Driver Bob Moir sustained $800 of damage when his left wheels crossed the yellow lines, and several parked cars near the painting site were sprayed with paint as well.
A PennDOT spokesperson explained that fall presents unique challenges for road painting. Because of the amount of moisture in the air and highly changeable temperatures, latex paint typically takes longer to cure to the road’s surface in autumn. This is usually why road painting is performed during daytime hours during this season.
Clearly, the drying time given for the markings in Wikes-Barre was not enough.
PennDOT admits that paint complaints are very commonplace. Affected residents are able to file a claim through the department of transportation, which may take several weeks to process. The final outcome of the claim’s validity is decided by a third party. Some claims have a cut-and-dry outcome: if a paint spill results in vehicular damage, PennDOT will more than likely be found to be at fault. But if the damage occurred while a driver was disobeying traffic laws, the complainant will usually be responsible for the damage.
PennDOT is uncertain as to how many claims have been filed on this particular occasion. Although fall road painting will soon be done for the season, motorists are encouraged to observe all traffic laws and to file a claim if their vehicles have sustained damage from similar incidents.