Unsecured loads pose major safety issues on roads

Drivers along Alabama’s roadways may be knowledgeable about the dangers of distraction, impairment and road rage. But, a new study by the American Automobile Association’s Foundation for Traffic Safety indicates that another preventable problem threatens motorists around the country. USA Today reports that objects in the roadway cause a significant number of car accidents each year.

Researchers analyzed crash reports between 2011 and 2014, and the results indicate that about 50,000 crashes occur each year because of debris on the road. During the time frame studied, roughly 39,000 people were injured, and there were 500 fatalities.

According to AL.com, road debris is often created when vehicles transport objects that have not been properly secured, or that have shifted during transportation and come loose. In either case, the driver who is transporting the objects is the one who is liable, and may face a fine of up to $500. However, many drivers are never charged with the class C misdemeanor because they are never identified as the source of the litter. In fact, many motorists may not realize they have lost a portion of the load they are hauling until they reach their destination and discover items are missing.

Law enforcement officials request that anyone who sees road debris report it so that it can be removed from the roadway safely. They recommend that drivers take the time to secure their loads carefully, and drive more slowly while making the trip. Allowing space between vehicles provides drivers with the time to prevent coming upon road debris too suddenly to avoid it. Rural roads and highways are the most common places in Alabama to come upon debris in the roads.

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