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AAA Study: Debris on Roads Responsible for Enormous Number of Traffic Accidents

by John Gomez | Last Updated: August 31, 2016
Traffic Accidents

Motorists come to expect certain things while behind the wheel that are common in nature.  We expect that we are going to encounter traffic and that we’re going to have to share the road with an angry driver from time to time.  We expect that we’re going to see another driver pass us at a speed that seems hard to imagine at the time.  What many of us do not expect is to suddenly encounter debris on the road that comes flying off of another vehicle.  Perhaps that lack of expectation is why it has seemingly become such a big problem in the United States.  The American Automobile Association, or the AAA, recently released a study.  This study reveals some statistics regarding traffic accidents involving loose debris.  A breakdown of that research appears below.

About the AAA Debris Study

Those interested in reading the full study can find a link to it here.  Researchers reviewed data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or the NHTSA.  The data covered crashes that occurred between 2011 and 2014.  They searched for accidents in which debris was listed as some sort of a factor in what occurred.  What they found was the following:

  • Debris was a factor in more than 200,000 traffic accidents between 2011 and 2014 in the United States.
  • These debris-related crashes resulted in more than 39,000 injuries.
  • More than 500 people died in debris-related traffic accidents during this timeframe.
  • More than one-third of people who were killed crashed while swerving to avoid debris.
  • Almost two-thirds of these accidents occurred between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m.

These are troubling statistics.  This is especially so when one considers that in most states motorists can receive a citation for failing to secure a load.

Debris-Caused Traffic Accidents and Legal Liability

Section 23115(a) of the California Vehicle Code requires proper coverage of any loads that are transported.  Obviously, the intent of this law is to prevent debris from flying off of vehicles.  Motorists who break this law can be fined.  That may deter some motorists from making this type of mistake.  However, the unfortunate reality is that anyone who drives regularly in California knows that it’s not uncommon to see vehicles with loose items moving down the road.  The driver of a vehicle with loose debris could face legal liability if that debris causes an accident.  People injured in these accidents may have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit in response.  Unfortunately, many times the driver of the vehicle carrying an unsecured load does not realize a crash has occurred.  This can leave an injured motorist with few options, and it can leave some with a feeling of hopelessness.

Please secure whatever you’re hauling before you drive if you’re going to be transporting materials.  If you notice a vehicle with loose debris, take reasonable steps to get away from the back of that vehicle.  If you are injured in a crash because of loose debris, contact a San Diego personal injury lawyer at Gomez Trial Attorneys for a free case evaluation.

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