Study shows road debris is a major hazard on highways

Safety on the roadways is a major concern for everyone, and Texas drivers should take their responsibilities seriously. This goes beyond activities and behaviors behind the wheel, though. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a nonprofit research organization, drivers also need to ensure that they are not leaving anything behind. A study released in 2016 indicates that road debris causes thousands of crashes every year.

When identifying what constitutes a road debris-related accident, researchers did not count any crashes that occurred because of trees or live animals in the roadways, objects related to construction in work zones or anything left on the road after a motor vehicle collision. Statistics did include any accident that a police report indicated had happened because a vehicle was struck by something falling off of or detaching from another vehicle, or because a driver swerved to miss an object in the road.

Researchers deemed vehicle parts such as mufflers or tires, trailers or any kind of cargo as non-fixed objects and included them in the study. They concluded that between 2011 and 2014, roughly 125 people died in debris-related crashes, and more than 9,800 sustained injuries.

A recent example of a multi-vehicle accident on a Texas highway reported by the Star-Telegram demonstrates the danger of hauling improperly secured cargo. One person suffered an injury when an object fell off a truck. After first striking the windshield of that car, the debris then bounced and tore the hood off another vehicle. According to law enforcement, a third vehicle sustained damage when the hood struck it. 

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