Last April, a 46 year old Miami woman was killed and her 13 year old daughter injured in an accident caused by road debris. The tragic accident joins many around the nation caused by the unseen and unanticipated presence of objects in the road that cause drivers to swerve and lose control of their vehicles.
What type of debris causes accidents?
Even under perfect road and weather conditions it can be very challenging to a driver to avoid an object of any kind in its path. Debris can find its way onto a highway from a variety of sources with very little or no warning. Examples include:
- Cargo falling from improperly secured or loaded truck beds
- Items falling from unsecured or unbalanced car roof racks
- Boulders and sand left by seasonal storms
- Rubber pieces left by blown tires
Even a highly skilled or professional driver may be powerless to avoid a collision when faced with debris in the road. A vehicle that swerves can cause a collision by entering the lane of oncoming traffic, crashing into a guardrail or stopping short and causing a pile-up. In addition, when one car hits an object it does not necessarily slow the object’s trajectory, and the debris can go on to hit or interfere with other vehicles in its path. The result can be a multiple vehicle accident with many serious injuries.
Florida’s open roads policy
In 2002 the state of Florida established its open roads policy — a commitment by the state’s highway maintenance operations to maintain an environment of free movement on the state’s roads. The policy states that debris from accidents, natural disasters and other sources are to be cleared away as soon as it is safe to do so, enabling drivers on the state’s roadways to proceed safely.
Despite this policy, Florida residents are injured or killed in debris-related accidents every year. If you are involved in an accident you may be eligible to collect monetary compensation for your injuries.