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Increase in Auto Accidents Caused by Road Debris

A recent AAA study shows an increased risk of being in a car accident caused by road debris.

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We all know that common causes of car accidents include distracted driving, drunk driving, and speeding. However, not many of us consider road debris too much of a danger, especially not significant enough to cause a car accident. However, a recent AAA study shows an increased risk of being in a car accident because of road debris. Cars and trucks that are haphazardly loaded with items that are not properly secure pose a serious danger.

The Danger of Unsecured Cargo

Road debris refers to anything from a detached trailer, a shredded tree, or a sofa that has fallen off a pickup truck. It excludes natural debris such as animals or tree branches in the roadway. All 50 states have laws against unsecured cargo and penalties range from a fine to jail time. However, many safety experts are of the opinion that carrying unsecured cargo that puts lives in danger should carry a more severe penalty than just a ticket. Whether you are moving your furniture across the city or hauling scrap metal across the country, make sure it is properly secured.

Road Debris-Related Accident Statistics

According to a news release by AAA, there were a total of 200,000 traffic accidents involving road debris during the period of 2011-2014. These accidents resulted in over 500 deaths and nearly 39,000 injuries. Two-thirds of the fatal road debris-related accidents were caused by unsecured loads or mechanical failures. The study points out that three of the most common types of road debris that lead to car accidents are:

  • furniture, appliances, and other household objects that are not secured
  • tires, wheels, and other parts that can detach from a vehicle
  • trailers that become detached and strike other vehicles

AAA has urged all drivers to ensure that they secure any cargo that they are carrying atop their vehicles or in the bed of a pickup truck. Drivers should also replace worn out tires as soon as possible.

Secure Load Checklist

  • Do not overload the truck or trailer.
  • Secure the entire load with the appropriate netting, tethers, straps, and tarps.
  • Secure your load directly to the vehicle.
  • Consider the possibility of hitting bumps and potholes in the road that may shake the load loose.

If any debris falls off your vehicle while driving, do not just drive away. Try to retrieve it. However, if it is not possible to retrieve the debris safely, alert highway patrol about the potential danger to other drivers.

St. Louis Car Accident Attorneys

If you have been injured in an accident caused by road debris falling off someone else’s vehicle, you may have a claim. Discuss your case with a St. Louis car accident attorney to understand your legal rights. Call The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. at (314) 361-4242.

Updated: August 10, 2018