Roadside Debris Auto Collisions
California residents have grown accustomed to avoiding road debris. Whether you are driving on the 5 Freeway, Pacific Coast Highway, or a common side street, another person's mess is a common obstacle that must be avoided to get from point A to point B. Most of us have accepted that debris hazards are a part of transportation on the road, but for some unfortunate motorists, road debris has left them with life altering injuries, or worse.
Road debris can be caused by a number of different factors. Weather, natural disasters, or objects falling from vehicles can leave roadways in dangerous conditions. Road debris has been known to cause traffic accidents by forcing motorists to initiate dangerous evasive maneuvers. Flat tires, fishtailing, and collisions with other vehicles are common results of large items in areas of heavy traffic.
Road Debris Statistics
Although the majority of us have had to avoid some form of road debris at some point in our lives, the number of people who suffer catastrophic injuries and death as a result of foreign objects on the road may come as a shock. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a study in 2004 revealing 100 deaths and 25,000 motor vehicle accidents resulting from road debris on a yearly basis. That's nearly 70 injuries a day and 3 per hour.
Road debris can cause injuries and deaths in a number of ways. Auto product recalls have been issued to help reduce injuries and innovative technologies may soon provide more protection from flying and stationary debris than we have grown accustomed to. The following are auto product recalls related to road debris.
- Rocks have been known to collide with a vehicle's catalytic converter and result in clogs and breaks. Vehicles, such as the 2005 Scion TC, have been recalled as a result of potential shattering upon impact from flying debris.
- In February of 2010, the 2004 Mitsubishi Endeavor was recalled following reports insinuating possible corrosion resulting from a mixture of road debris and road salt. Experts argued whether this mixture could become trapped between a bracket and fuel filler pipe resulting in a dangerous condition.
- Due to a possible problem with pressure relief valves coming into contact with road debris, the 2001 Chevrolet C/K chassis cab truck was recalled to prevent possible injuries.
Victims of Road Debris Auto Collisions
California is not the only state struggling to keep their streets clean. According to deseretnews.com, Royce Munns, a 46-year-old male from Brigham City, died after colliding with a mattress that was left in the middle of the I-15. Authorities believed that the mattress was being transported by another vehicle, but was not properly fastened. The Utah Highway Patrol (UHP) receives up to 20 calls a day regarding hazardous debris on the highways and issue fines of up to $500 for violators.
Fatalities that could have been easily avoided are especially difficult to bear. It's hard to believe that had someone spent 5 minutes securing a mattress onto their vehicle, Royce Munns may be with us today. My thoughts and prayers go out to Royce's family whom I'm sure are still struggling to accept their loss.