Debris causes over 25,000 North American crashes a year

WASHINGTON, (June 16, 2003) — Road gators, garbage, scrap metal, and other highway debris littering North American roadways causes over 25,000 accidents a year in Canada and the U.S., says the American Automobile Association’s Foundation for Traffic Safety.

As many as 612 crashes in Canada and 25,217 in the U.S. are directly related to litter on the highways or vehicle-related road debris — including up to 90 deaths a year in both countries.

A survey of government transportation officials in the United States and Canada found the most common forms of road debris are, in order: tire treads; garbage from waste haulers; lumber and construction materials; gravel, soil and tree limbs, mufflers and exhaust parts.

The report stressed that the estimates do not take secondary crashes that may have been caused by VRRD. The study said even small objects on roads can cause serious problems because drivers travelling at highway speeds who try to avoid them sometimes lose control of their vehicles.

“Although vehicle-related road debris crashes are generally less severe than other crashes, individual incidents can be catastrophic,” foundation president Peter Kissinger said in the report, which was released today. It’s the first time a comprehensive tally of such accidents has been done, according to AAA.

“Many of the crashes can be prevented if truckers and motorists secure their loads properly and report debris that they encounter on the road,” Kissinger said.

— from The Canadian Press, Via Associated Press

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