Drivers have a duty to stay attentive, obey traffic laws, and drive sober in order to prevent crashes. One duty drivers have that's not often discussed is properly securing cargo. When objects fall onto the road from cars and trucks, they often endanger other drivers. This can also lead to chain reaction crashes when drivers are forced to brake abruptly or swerve out of the way.
A study by AAA showed that roughly 200,000 crashes were caused by road debris from 2011-2014. Most of these crashes occurred on interstates and major roadways during conditions of traffic congestion. This resulted in nearly 39,000 injuries and more than 500 deaths.
How does road debris lead to car accidents?
Large objects in the road can cause a great deal of damage to your car and injure you or any other car occupants. Objects that fall off of cars and trucks can also pierce through the windshield and directly strike car occupants.
Large objects that cause injuries may include:
- Large equipment
- Rocks or logs
- Wood and building materials
- Car and truck parts, such as detached wheels
Road debris can also cause drivers to react by swerving or abruptly applying their brakes. This can lead to:
- Head-on collisions
- Lane-departure crashes
- Rear-end collisions
- Chain reaction crashes and pileups
How can road debris car accidents be avoided?
In order to prevent road debris crashes, drivers are responsible for:
- Maintaining and inspecting vehicles: Tires, wheels, and exhaust systems are known for coming loose on cars that aren't well-maintained or inspected. Drivers have a duty to ensure that their cars and trucks are safe to operate and can be held accountable when they fail to do so.
- Ensure cargo is secured: Motorists and truck drivers must ensure that cargo is properly loaded, tied down, secured in a trailer, covered with a tarp, and not overloaded.
How can I pursue a car accident claim if I was involved in a debris-related crash?
Whether the debris was dropped by a pickup truck, car, utility truck, or large commercial truck, you can absolutely pursue a legal claim against the driver's insurance provider if you were involved in a crash.
In order to do so, you must be able to identify the driver. If the debris was left by a driver who was no longer at the scene, you will likely not be able to pursue a claim unless the driver was identified on a dash cam, surveillance camera, or by a witness.
Otherwise, you can take legal action by consulting with an experienced New Mexico car accident attorney who knows how to handle complex claims involving road debris.