Auto accidents can occur for a variety of reasons, including things that are in motorists’ control and those which are not. Every driver is responsible, of course, for how he or she operates his or her vehicle—reasonable care must be exercised in every circumstance. For drivers who are hauling items, this includes ensuring that items are secured and that they will not come loose and cause an accident.
According to an AAA study published this fall, road debris from unsecured cargo caused almost 200,000 accidents, 39,000 injuries and over 500 deaths between 2011 and 2014. The two most common scenarios are tires, wheels and other vehicle parts become detached, and cargo becoming separated and striking other vehicle or landing in the roadway. Nearly two-thirds of road-debris accidents were caused by items falling out of a vehicle because of failure to properly maintain the vehicle or to secure the load.
In many cases, fatalities resulting from road-debris accidents occur when drivers attempt to swerve out of the way of the oncoming items. This can result in over-correcting and becoming involved in an even worse collision or a rollover.
Many states impose criminal penalties upon motorists who drop items on the highway, but those who experience serious injuries from such accidents have the right to seek just compensation, in court if necessary. The same goes for those who have lost a loved one as a result of such a crash.
Roadway debris presents an even greater risk when it involves large semi trucks. In our next post, we’ll say more about this topic.