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There are many reasons that car accidents happen, but one major factor that is often overlooked is the prevalence of items on the road. A AAA study found that the number of auto accidents involving road debris has risen in recent years, and crashes related to debris are four times as likely to happen as non-debris crashes on interstate highways.
The study, which was performed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, examined data from 2011-2014, and it found that over these years, road debris was involved in an average of over 50,000 crashes each year. These crashes resulted in an average of 9,805 injuries and 125 deaths annually. This is a 40% increase from when the foundation first studied the issue in 2001.
What Causes Road Debris Accidents?
Road debris includes items from any source that presents a safety hazard on the road, although it does not include animals, trees that fall onto vehicles, debris from car accidents, or road construction materials. Road debris can cause accidents in several ways, including:
The Dangers of Unsecured Loads
One of the most prevalent types of road debris accidents are those caused by a vehicle’s cargo falling onto the road. Two-thirds of traffic accidents involving debris result from items falling from a vehicle and these accidents can be especially deadly for drivers.
In Illinois, driving with an unsecured load is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $2,500 and up to 12 months in prison. To avoid causing these types of accidents, drivers should be sure to tie down all cargo securely and avoid overloading their vehicle.
Avoiding Road Debris Crashes
In addition to making sure loads are secure, drivers can avoid causing road debris accidents by making sure their vehicles are properly maintained. Tires that are badly worn or underinflated can blow out and leave debris on the road, and hardware like mufflers and exhaust systems can corrode, causing them to drag on the road or break loose from the car. Routine vehicle maintenance can provide an opportunity to discover and address these issues before they become a problem.
Road debris accidents can also be avoided by practicing defensive driving. Drivers should refrain from tailgating and maintain enough distance from other cars to ensure they have enough time to avoid any road debris without causing an accident.
Contact a Hinsdale Car Accident Attorney
If you have been involved in a road debris accident and suffered an injury, you will want to make sure you are represented by an attorney who understands your rights and can help you receive the compensation you deserve. At Martoccio & Martoccio, we can protect your rights and help you get back on your feet as soon as possible. Contact one of our DuPage County personal injury attorneys by calling 630-920-8855 today.