I was driving down the freeway at at the posted speed limit when a truck in front of me lost an unsecured broom and it went smack into my windshield. After the initial shock, “duck” and recovery – I began thinking about just how dangerous this scenario is. More than a nuisance, debris on the road way poses a serious risk across Ohio. While it may not be the most glamorous topic for the news headlines, recent ODOT reports highlight the serious nature of accidents resulting from discarded items on our highways.
We have all seen them, a small broom or even an entire sofa on the roadside – These preventable issues can save hundreds of lives! Just a broom to the windshield was enough to raise my heart rate, and likely continue to do so for many others traveling behind me on the same stretch of highway. Could you imagine your reaction if a ladder, sofa, or any other item came toward you as you are going 60 miles per hour!?
Debris Causes Thousands of Accidents Each Year
The scary reality is that roadway debris contributes to over 3,700 accidents each year in Ohio. Individuals are injured and killed every day, either by avoiding the debris or coming into direct contact. Even a small item can poise a very large risk at any high rate of speed.
Swerving to avoid an item in the road is incredibly dangerous for you, your passengers and for other drivers around you. The average number of deaths resulting from the 3,700 accidents reaches at least 20 per year – a sad reality for a completely preventable situation. For a 4 year period from 2012-2016 ODOT reports that over 19,000 accidents occurred, causing over 100 deaths – In addition to 570 serious injuries.
The Solution to Debris
Ohio’s tarp law is in place to limit the number of unsecured loads, but it simply just isn’t enough. Individual responsibility and proper tools and education are essential to traveling safely with items loaded in a truck.
Using the proper restraints, like rope or ratchet straps, is recommended for any size load in the back of a pick up truck. Responsible travel and packing is also essential, and common sense truly goes a long way! Saving a small amount of time or travel costs is simply not worth the risk of another individuals’ life.
If you witness a vehicle with an unsecured load, or see an item fall out or already in the road way, contact local authorities immediately. If you are traveling and have lost an item – It is important to stop and call for emergency help.
If you or someone you love has been involved in a serious accident, you must contact my offices immediately.
I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®
Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injury, medical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Columbus, Dayton and neighboring communities. You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 877.944.4373.