A Texas woman was given the scare of a lifetime while she was driving on I-45. The driver’s quick instincts allowed her to barely miss being struck by a tire when it crashed through the windshield of her vehicle as she was driving. The loose tire was projected out of the bed of a pickup truck where it was not securely tied down. The incident showcases the immense dangers debris on the roads can play in motor vehicle accidents.
The latest AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety report on the correlation between debris on roads and car accidents uncovered alarming statistics. When surveying accidents between 2011 and 2014, debris on roadways caused more than 200,000 motor vehicle accidents. Of those accidents, 500 resulted in deaths and 39,000 others were severely injured. Debris on roads caused drivers to swerve or lose control of their vehicles in an attempt to miss objects on the road.
When comparing incidents of debris-related accidents, highway drivers were 14% more likely to be involved in a car crash due to debris than drivers on regular roads. This is especially concerning for drivers who frequent highways, as high-speed limits often mean more severe property damage, and even worse catastrophic injuries and/or death due to the force of the impact. Additionally, drivers who must swerve or leave their lanes of traffic in order to avoid striking an object also put those in other lanes at an increased risk of an auto accident.
Securing Cargo is the Law
The study also found two-thirds of all motor vehicle accidents involving loose debris were caused by drivers improperly securing or failing to secure cargo loads and other objects they were transporting. Securing cargo while traveling on roads and highways is more than just a safety precaution, it’s federal law. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), current laws governing the securing of cargo were adopted in 2012. Under these transportation safety laws, vehicles carrying cargo must be in proper working condition and must obey the following regarding their loads:
- Proper Use of Tiedowns – a vehicle’s tiedown systems must be securely attached so they will not become loose, unfasten, open, or release during transit.
- Cargo Placement – cargo being transported that has the potential to roll, become loose, or fall out of the vehicle or trailer must be restrained by using chocks, wedges, and a cradle to prevent movement. Additionally, cargo likely to move placed next to each other, such as pipes, must be fastened together and secured by a proper tiedown system.
- Minimum Amount of Tiedowns – the minimum amount of tiedowns that must be used to secure all cargo is determined by cargo load weight. For a breakdown of cargo transportation requirements, please click here.
Houston Personal Injury Attorneys
Drivers should be able to focus on their routes without worrying if another vehicle on the road has followed all applicable safety protocols. When all drivers make the commitment to follow safety standards – including federal laws – the roads drivers share are safer; however, this is unfortunately not always the case. If you or a loved one were involved in an accident caused by debris or cargo falling from a work vehicle, you need the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure you receive the compensation you and your loved ones need to move forward. To schedule a free case evaluation with one of our lawyers, please contact us today.