AAA Report: 50,658 Crashes from Road Debris Each Year

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Posted on Aug 24, 2016

According to a recent study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, road debris causes more than 50,000 traffic accidents each year. While many only lead to damaged vehicles or minor cuts and bruises, these crashes can be especially dangerous when drivers swerve to miss the debris and wreck.

If you were involved in a road debris accident in Washington, you may be able to file a claim for compensation to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and more.

How many accidents does road debris cause each year?

The study analyzed several traffic accident databases to determine how many road debris crashes occurred each year between 2011 and 2014. Researchers then averaged these numbers and found some astonishing results.

According to the report, published in August of 2016, there is an average of 50,658 police-reported crashes caused by road debris each year nationwide. Of these accidents, about 9,805 people suffer injuries annually and about 125 lose their lives.

How can I help prevent road debris accidents?

The most important thing you can do to prevent road debris from ending up in the roadway is to properly secure any cargo you haul, and to ensure your car receives proper maintenance.

A blown tire or broken exhaust system can leave rubbish in the roadway, so ensure your mechanic checks your tires and other systems routinely as a part of your regular oil change.

If you are hauling cargo, tie it down with rope or straps and double check to ensure it is secure. If possible, cover the load with a tarp to keep it on the truck or trailer.

As a driver, you can also reduce your risk of hitting road debris. Make sure you:

  • Leave plenty of space between you and other vehicles (at least three to four seconds)
  • Avoid driving behind motorists with cargo, when possible
  • Constantly scan the road several car lengths in front of you for debris
  • Slow down if you spot debris
  • Do not swerve to avoid debris at high speeds or when other cars are nearby

Who is liable for injuries in a road debris crash?

About 66 percent of all road debris crashes stem from hitting or swerving to miss something that fell off another vehicle. While accidents do happen, this often occurs because the driver of that vehicle has not properly maintained his car or failed to secure his cargo.

If the other driver was negligent in caring for his car or securing his load, you can hold that person responsible for your damages through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.

In a few cases, road debris accidents may fall under the category of government liability. This is often because of damage to the roadway itself, or because of a fallen tree or other object that remains on the roadway for an extended period of time.

If you suffered injuries in a road debris accident in the state of Washington, Max Meyers Law PLLC can help you build a strong case against the liable parties.

Contact us today at to schedule a free case evaluation. 

Max Meyers
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Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.