Debris-Related Crashes Increasing: AAA

Research suggests that more car crashes are happening on the roads because of litter and debris.

According to American Automobile Association, more than 200,000 wrecks, 500 deaths and 39,000 injuries in the last four years were caused by blown tires, trash and other objects that litter roadways.

Nearly 37 percent of all deaths in road debris crashes resulted from the driver swerving to avoid hitting an object, the AAA Foundation study reveals. More than a third of crashes involving debris happen from 10 a.m. to 3:59 p.m. Most are likely to happen on interstates.

"This new report shows that road debris can be extremely dangerous but all of these crashes are preventable," said Jurek Grabowski, Research Director for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

About two-thirds of debris-related crashes stem from items falling from a vehicle due to unsecured loads. When securing vehicle loads, AAA's Doug Shupe said to tie them down directly to vehicles or trailers with rope, netting or straps. Cover the entire load with a study tarp or netting and don't overload the vehicle.

"Drivers have a much bigger responsibility when it comes to preventing debris on the roads than most realize," said Jennifer Ryan, Director of State Relations for AAA. "States have hefty fines and penalties for drivers who drop items from their vehicle onto the roadway, and in some cases states impose jail time."

As for drivers, Shupe said to avoid tailgating and search the road at least 12 seconds ahead for debris.

If you see you are about to make contact with debris, safely reduce your speed as much as possible prior to making contact.

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