In Jonesboro, road debris poses the risk of injury to all roadway users. Drivers, passengers, motorcycle riders, bicyclists and pedestrians alike can all be injured in an accident caused by trash or improperly secured cargo that has been dropped or fallen into the road, resulting in obstruction.
A Jonesboro car accident attorney can help accident victims address the complicated legal issues presented by road debris liability. For instance, if the driver of improperly-secured cargo can be identified, that may be grounds to pursue a claim. Beyond that, the municipality responsible for using reasonable care in the maintenance of roads may be held responsible if the debris existed for a prolonged period of time or after receiving notice of it without taking appropriate action.
The Facts About Road Debris
According to The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, road debris was responsible for causing over 200,000 accidents and 500 deaths in the United States between 2011 and 2014. These statistics are more than abstract numbers. They represent very real losses suffered by the friends, family members and loved ones of accident victims who will never make it home. Even when an injury victim manages to survive his or her injuries, the financial, emotional, and physical costs of a car accident can affect the victim’s life for years to come.
Road debris also endangers those who are tasked with removing it. In Wayzata, Minnesota, a local police officer was struck and killed during an attempt to remove debris from a highway. The Star Tribune reports that the officer had pulled his squad car to the side of the road. He was attempting to remove debris from the roadway when he was struck by another vehicle. The driver was arrested on suspicion of criminal vehicular homicide. She has an extensive criminal record, including driving violations and drug possession charges. The victim, meanwhile, had a wife and 7-year-old son.
Road debris affects Arkansas drivers, too. In one unusual accident reported by THV 11, a tractor trailer crashed in Little Rock, spilling packaged pizzas across the roadway. The truck was transporting a load of Tombstone frozen pizzas when it hit an overpass. The side of the trailer ripped open, spilling its cargo across the Interstate 30. According to Arkansas Online, the truck driver was later cited for an improper lane change which caused him to crash into the overpass. There were no injuries reported in this particular accident. Yet the danger existed, and it was only careful, defensive maneuvers by drivers in the vicinity that prevented accidents. Accidents such as this also incur significant road cleanup costs - costs which come from taxpayers.
The Legal Obligation to Prevent Road Debris
Arkansas law requires drivers to avoid letting debris fall on the roadway. Violation of that duty of care can lead an insurance company or jury to determine that the littering driver was negligent, and therefore liable for an accident which occurred as a result of the road debris. This imposes a legal obligation upon the negligent driver to compensate victims of the accident for their injuries. The advice of a Jonesboro car accident attorney can help traffic accident victims identify those individuals or companies whose negligence caused their injuries.