When hauling cargo, cars and vehicles must take steps to carefully secure the items being hauled. When drivers neglect their responsibility to consider the safety of others and spill items into lanes of traffic, they can cause serious accidents. Drivers who don’t meet their legal duty to secure cargo can also be held liable through a personal injury lawsuit for accidents they cause.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recently released a report detailing the rate and effects of so-called road debris accidents. Using data on police-reported accidents gathered by federal traffic safety bodies, the researchers looked at the number of serious accidents caused by road debris, the number of injuries caused by those accidents, and the number of injuries which were fatal. The researchers found that an average of 50,658 accidents occurred each year as the result of roadway debris. 9,805 injuries resulted from these accidents, on average, and 125 people were killed annually.
Both Connecticut state law governing all vehicles, and federal regulations governing commercial drivers, require that drivers hauling large items or cargo take care to do so safely. Drivers who fail to ensure that items are secured to a vehicle with adequate restraints can be made to pay for any property damage or physical injury that results from an accident caused by cargo falling into the road.
The researchers included in their report a number of suggestions to prevent road debris accidents. If you’re driving near a vehicle that seems precariously loaded, be sure to leave adequate space between yourself and that vehicle. It may be challenging to avoid tailgating a slow-moving vehicle, but the less space there is between you and that vehicle, the less time you’ll have to react if an item falls loose into the road. If you’re hauling loose items or a large object such as a piece of furniture, be sure to use sturdy ropes, straps, or tarps to secure those items. Large objects should be tied directly to the vehicle with ropes or straps. Loose objects should be secured with ties or a net. All cargo should be further secured with a tarp. If hauling these materials for a long distance, you should stop at regular intervals to check and see that the materials remain safely contained.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a road debris accident in Connecticut, find out if you may have a claim for money damages by contacting the professional, experienced, and compassionate personal injury lawyers at The APEX Law Firm for a consultation, in Hartford County at (860) 900-0900 or through our website contact form.