Many drivers have experienced that sense of danger when following a truck with a load that is seemingly less than totally secure. Recent studies have attributed about 25,000 crashes per year to road debris. These crashes can be serious and result in over 80 fatalities per year.
Many drivers wonder if they can sue another driver for damages relating to a crash caused by an unsecured load. This happens all the time with commercial truck incidents, but the law can be applied to all types of vehicles. A West Virginia woman, Nichole Boggs, crashed into a concrete median after swerving to avoid a mat and bucket that flew off of the truck in front of her. The Ford F-150 was being driven commercially in the service of the City of Nitro. Boggs sued the driver and City of Nitro, claiming that the truck’s load was unsecured and that this negligence caused her accident. The case never went to court, and both parties settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. Both the driver and the company are liable for compensatory and punitive damages in such a case. This incident was reported by The Legal Examiner
All states are realizing the danger of unsecured loads that end up causing crashes or leaving behind hazardous road debris. Even usually innocent items like plastic car parts, branches and firewood become deadly on a congested roadway. Additional education is recommended to train drivers, especially commercial drivers, in how to properly secure their load. There are hefty fines for not keeping a secured load. They vary by jurisdiction but can range anywhere from $10 to $5000 and may even include prison time for serious or repeat offenses.