Flying Debris: Danger on the Highway

You are driving down I-95 on your way to work one day when a steel bar flies off a commercial construction truck in front of you that appears to be headed for a construction site.  The steel bar punctures and flattens one of your tires, but you are safely able to get your car to the side of the road even though your car is swerving.  However, although you make it to the shoulder without suffering serious injuries or damage to your car, you are still hit by the car behind you and suffer injuries to your neck and back in the process.  Who is responsible for your injuries suffered in this scenario involving flying debris?

Flying debris can be a much more serious problem for someone driving down one of Florida’s many highways than most people would think.  Everyone who drives regularly on the highway has dents and dings in their windshield from the rocks that are kicked up from the other vehicles on the road.  To many people, this is just a natural part of driving on the freeway.  However, there are times when debris much larger than a pebble may fly off another vehicle and hit your car.  In such instances, which are much more common than most people realize, someone can be injured or even killed simply because another driver may not have taken the time to ensure that whatever he or she was carrying in a truck or vehicle was adequately secured or tied down.

Flying Debris on the Highway: A More Serious Problem Than Most People Think

Flying debris on the highway can cause much more serious damage and is a much more serious problem than many people may realize.  For example, according to a report based on research conducted by AAA, between the years 2011 and 2014 there were 200,000 crashes on the nation’s roadways related to flying debris, including approximately 39,000 injuries and 500 deaths.  More than two-thirds of those accidents were a result of improper maintenance and/or unsecured loads.

According to a 2018 article from the South Florida Sun Sentinel, flying tires are among the most common types of flying debris, but other occurrences in South Florida have included a boat oar that flew off a vehicle and steel rods that commonly fly off tractor trailers or commercial trucks that are headed to construction sites.  A Florida driver in Brevard County in central Florida in 2018 could have been killed when a piece of plywood flew off another vehicle on I-95 and smashed through the driver’s window according to an article from ABC News 13.  Lastly, a Broward County state Circuit Court Judge died in 2005 when he swerved to avoid a piece of plastic that had flown off another vehicle and the judge’s vehicle hit a concrete piling and then burst into flames.  These are just some of the examples of the havoc wreaked by flying debris on Florida’s roads according to news reports.

What Is Florida Law Related to Securing Items that Could Potentially Fly Off a Vehicle?

Under Florida law, items that are being carried and/or towed in a vehicle or a trailer must be adequately secured so they do not go flying from the vehicle they are being carried on either onto another person’s car or onto the road.  If, for example, a driver of a dump truck that is carry rocks or the driver of a commercial vehicle carrying construction materials like the example above fails to adequately secure the load he or she is carrying, then the truck driver and his or her employer may be responsible for the consequences of any flying debris off the truck or commercial vehicle that he or she is driving.

Contact Schwed Adams & McGinley

At Schwed Adams & McGinley, P.A., our experienced personal injury attorneys have more than 150 years of combined legal experience. Over the course of our attorneys’ combined decades of experience in the courtroom, we have litigated challenging cases involving flying debris.  Other personal injury lawyers may have even turned down the case, but not our experienced attorneys who will always do everything they can to achieve maximum compensation for our clients.  No matter the type of accident or scenario, contact our experienced attorneys at contact@schwedlawfirm.com or (877) 694-6079 for a free consultation today if you have been injured or a loved one has been killed or injured in a motor vehicle accident in Florida.