AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety Releases Road Debris Study
Another new study, this time by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, was released last week and suggests that the roads are more dangerous than ever because of a preventable problem. According to this road debris study, between 2011 and 2014 more than 200,000 crashes occurred because of debris on the roadways. These accidents led to about 39,000 injuries and more than 500 deaths nationwide.
The study said that the number of accident reports in which road debris was cited as a factor has increased by about 40 percent since 2001. It is more likely for these accidents to happen on Interstate highways and more than one in three of all fatalities in accidents caused by road debris occur between 10 a.m. and 3:59 p.m., which is the most common time that people haul heavy objects. Most troubling, however, is that most such accidents involve debris flying off other vehicles while in traffic.
As is their tendency, AAA doesn’t just report the problems, they also include tips for avoiding such accidents. For example, people can avoid having objects fly off their vehicle by tying everything down with straps and ropes, especially when hauling large objects. They suggest making sure that large objects are tied directly to the truck or the trailer, and not just to each other. For lighter or smaller loads, like tree limbs, grass, dirt or gravel, it’s important to cover the load with a tarp, to prevent the wind from picking up objects and flinging them at the vehicles behind.
They also recommend checking tire pressure and making sure tires are properly inflated, to prevent blowouts or the prospect of leaving behind tire debris on the roadway. They also suggest making sure that all vehicle exhaust systems and hardware that attach to a vehicle and may tend to rust and corrode are properly secured to the vehicle, so as to not drag on the ground and break loose.
The AAA report also recommends that drivers take steps to avoid hitting any debris that’s on the road. They recommend carefully watching the road at least 10-15 seconds ahead, so as to have time to maneuver around debris safely. According to the study, 37 percent of all fatal crashes involving road debris occurred because a driver swerved to avoid an object, then overcompensated and lost control of the vehicle. AAA also recommends not tailgating. If the vehicle in front hits something, without a few seconds to react, the tailgating driver will hit it, too, and could cause damage to the vehicle and lead to an accident.
The AAA report demonstrates that road debris can be very dangerous to drivers everywhere, but that the vast majority of such accidents are preventable. If drivers take precautions and secure their loads to prevent items from falling off their vehicles and other drivers are always paying close attention to their surroundings and driving defensively, most of these accidents won’t happen.
If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in an accident involving debris in the roadway that came from another vehicle, please contact the Automobile Injury Lawyer at the Hill Law Firm as soon as possible, so that we can investigate and hold responsible those who have been negligent and caused your injuries or wrongful death. We have the knowledge and the experience to hold them accountable and to protect your rights under the law.