Recently, a semi-truck overturned on I-10 near Culebra Road, spilling its cargo of wooden boards out onto the roadway. Law enforcement closed several lanes of I-10 at I-35, ensuring that no one had the opportunity to drive over the cargo while the accident - and the boards - were cleared. While as of this writing, no one appears to have been injured in this accident, it is important to be aware that accidents happen due to improperly secured or loose cargo with regularity. If you are unfortunate enough to be injured in this type of accident, it can be difficult to determine how best to proceed.
Stakes Are High
Accidents involving road debris are much more common than one might think. A 2016 study from AAA’s Foundation For Traffic Safety estimates that approximately 200,000 accidents occurred between 2011-2014 where road debris was a factor, with roughly 500 deaths occurring and almost 40,000 personal injuries. While many factors might play into how an accident happened, the fact remains that road debris can turn a mild accident into a bad one, and it means drivers must be aware of their surroundings at all times.
In general, most state laws hold that no vehicle can drive on a public road if their cargo is not properly secured, because of the potential danger that they would pose to the public. More specifically, federal regulations govern the securing of cargo, and failure to abide by them can lead to serious fines and license suspensions. This is on top of possible civil and criminal liability if the accident is serious enough. The driver of the truck that overturned on I-10 has all this to worry about on top of potentially incurring his own injuries....