AAA asks drivers to secure loads to prevent accidents

200,000 crashes caused by debris in US, according to AAA

SAN ANTONIO – As students get ready to move back to college campuses, AAA is asking drivers to secure their loads when moving.

According to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, there have been 200,000 crashes caused by debris on U.S. roadways during the past four years.

"Unfortunately, drivers that are on the highway are hitting those types of objects," said Doug Shupe, with AAA Texas. "That's causing not only expensive, costly repair to vehicles, but in worse-cases collisions, they could result in injuries and fatalities."

Researchers for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety have found that crashes in the U.S. as a result of road debris have increased 40 percent since 2011.

From 2011 to 2014, road debris caused about 39,000 injuries and more than 500 deaths in the U.S. Nearly 37-percent of these fatal crashes happen when drivers swerve to avoid debris.

"One of the biggest problems is when people encounter debris. They try to swerve around it and overcorrect," Shupe said. "That is a very potentially dangerous situation and, so, what we want people to do is take steps to prevent road debris in the first place."

Shupe said preventing road debris starts with securing loads properly and keeping your car maintained.

"Take the extra time to make sure that you are fastening everything down inside the back of a pickup truck, using very strong ties, using a netting or tarp over the entire load," Shupe said.

Crews contracted out by the Texas Department of Transportation remove debris from the side of the road periodically, but Shupe said the debris is still a problem.

In Texas, if something falls from your vehicle, you can get a misdemeanor fine of $25 to $500.

For more information on how to prevent road debris, visit aaa.com/preventroaddebris.

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