The number of drivers cited for carrying unsecured loads has more than doubled in Rhode Island over the last four years posing an increased safety risk on local roadways. According to a WPRI investigative news report, there have been a number of accidents recently that have been caused by unsecured loads. In Somerset, a 59-year-old man was charged with motor vehicle homicide in connection with a deadly crash in which a Fall River man died after his vehicle struck a filing cabinet that was dropped from the other man’s truck on I-195. It is expected that if this routine continues, serious injuries could result from accidents, leading to expensive Cranston car accident lawsuits.
The Problem of Unsecured Loads
Law enforcement officials around the country know just how common unsecured loads and the accidents that involve these objects can be. According to a AAA study, road debris was involved in more than 200,000 car accidents in the U.S. from 2011 to 2014 resulting in 39,000 injuries and 500 deaths. There are no state-by-state breakdowns for road debris-related crashes. But the Target 12 investigative team at WPRI dug into the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal and found that 135 people were cited statewide for driving with unsecured loads in 2015. That number was way up from just 62 violations in 2011.
Target 12’s team also hit the road to look at the problem first-hand. Just within a few hours on the road, their cameras spotted a host of debris on Rhode Island roadways including a recycling bin, a trailer hitch, laundry baskets, mufflers, kiddie pools, tires and traffic cones. They also spotted trucks that were dangerously loaded with tree branches and mattresses, which were not secured. In both Rhode Island and Massachusetts, drivers are required by law to secure loose cargo with a cover and straps. In Rhode Island, the penalty for a first offense is a $100. Subsequent offenses carry a fine of up to $500.
How to Prevent These Accidents
Drivers have a responsibility to ensure that the loads they are carrying on their vehicles are properly secured. Especially when moving or towing furniture or large loads, it is important to make sure all the items are secured. Tie them down with rope, netting or straps. Tie large objects directly to the vehicle or trailer. Cover the entire load with a tarp or netting. Never overload the vehicle. Always double-check to ensure the load is secure before you hit the road.
There are steps that drivers can take to protect themselves from the threat of road debris. Travel within the speed limit, stay the proper distance away from the vehicle in front of you and give your complete attention to the road. Officials suggest that for every 10 mph you are driving, you should keep a full car length between you and the vehicle in front. For example, if you are going 40 mph, you should be at least four car lengths behind the vehicle in front of you. This would give you more time to act or react. If you encounter debris on the road, do not panic or jerk the wheel hard. This could cause your vehicle to go out of control. Police also warn drivers not to speed up to get around a vehicle with an unsecured load.
Contact a Cranston Car Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of a Cranston car accident, contact one of our experienced Cranston car accident lawyers at 751 Reservoir Ave. Cranston, RI 02910. You may be entitled to receive compensation for your medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering, among other losses. No fees are received unless you win your case. For a free (no obligation) case evaluation, call us at 401-275-2039 or call toll free at 1-800-992-6878 or fill out our contact form online.