When we are on neighborhood roads or highways in Southern California, should we be concerned about the risk of a car accident caused by road debris? Most of us are typically on the lookout for other drivers who are not obeying the rules of the road or distracted pedestrians who might inadvertently step into traffic, but according to a recent report from CBS News, dangerous road debris causes far more car crashes than you might expect. Between 2011 and 2014, more than 200,000 collisions have been attributed to debris already in the road or to debris falling from unsecured truck loads. What else should you know about crashes caused by debris, and what can you do to prevent them?
AAA Study Highlights Severity of Crashes Caused by Debris and Unsecured Loads
The CBS News report cites a recent study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, which determined that approximately 39,000 injuries and 500 deaths on the road between 2011 and 2014 resulted from debris. According to Tamra Johnson, a spokesperson for the AAA Foundation, “the really troublesome thing about all this is a majority of these crashes are preventable, if drivers would just take the necessary precautions to secure their load or maintain their vehicle properly.”
The AAA Foundation describes these accidents as vehicle-related road debris (VRRD) crashes, and it indicates that around 25,000 VRRD crashes occur in North America every year. Of those accidents, anywhere from 80-90 deaths occur. Peter Kissinger, the President and CEO of the AAA Foundation, explains that VRRD crashes “are generally less severe than other crashes,” yet “individual incidents can be catastrophic.”
While it might not sound like a major ordeal to swerve to avoid a piece of debris in the road, such incidents frequently lead to severe and fatal collisions. The CBS News report cites a recent incident in which a West Coast driver swerved to get out of the way of a metal shelf that flew out of the back of a pickup truck on the highway. In attempting to avoid the metal shelf, the driver crashed into another vehicle and lost his life. According to the report, that is how about 37% of VRRD accident deaths occur. Most often, fatal VRRD crashes happen “on a freeway in the middle of the day.”
Preventing Vehicle-Related Debris Accidents in San Diego
What can we do in San Diego to prevent accidents caused by road debris? The most important thing is for drivers carrying loads in pickup trucks or other vehicles to ensure that their loads are properly secured. Even if you think a single strap will hold down the load you are carrying, use additional devices to ensure that anything in the bed of your truck will not cause a serious or fatal accident on the highway. As the CBS News report suggests, “if you wouldn’t want your family driving behind what you’re hauling, it’s a good sign it’s probably not safe.”
If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a traffic collision caused by another driver’s negligence, you should consider filing a claim for compensation. An experienced car accident attorney in San Diego can help. Contact the Walton Law Firm today to learn more about our services.
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(image courtesy of Dodgerton Skillhause)