Renewed warnings over dangerous debris on local roadways
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - There's a danger on the roads in the form of items that fall off cars and trucks and become obstacles.
According to AAA, in just four years, debris on US roads caused 200,000 crashes with 39,000 injuries.
In that same period, from 2011 to 2014, debris on the road resulted in 500 deaths.
Inside the dumpsters at the Ohio Department of Transportation, you can get a good look at just how massive some of the road debris can be.
ODOT crews pick up a lot of stuff from the roads and highways, but items continue falling and flying off vehicles and right into our paths.
It's a big problem that has a simple fix.
“I didn't know if it was a gunshot or what because it was like "bow!" said Wesley Hall, a victim of road debris.
36-year-old Wesley Hall, who owns several restaurants in Cincinnati, was shocked two years ago when things didn't stack up and an object slammed in to his car on I-75.
“Pow! The windshield just shatters,” said Wesley. “When it happens to you, I hope you can react the way I did.”
Quick reaction saved him and his mother. The debris listed in the accident report was not what he expected.
“It was actually ice. A sheet of ice that slid off the trailer,” said Wesley.
At the ODOT garage, highway tech Tom Freel shows off the contents of the massive dumpsters, revealing heavy objects that ODOT crews are hauling off the local highways.
From refrigerators that were dropped on I-75 to entire trailers and big hunks of sharp metal.
Even an entire set of massive forks that should be on the front of a forklift that instead came bouncing down the highway on I-71 near Norwood.
“This is something that you know is going to hurt somebody,” said Freel.
Debris on Ohio’s roads does hurt lots of people. According to ODOT, from 2012 to 2016, falling or flying debris on Ohio’s roads caused 5571 crashes with 140 serious injuries.
Hamilton County is third highest in the state for road debris crashes with 341 incidents.
But how is all this debris ending up on the roads? After all, Ohio has this law that requires loads to be "secured" or "covered".
“The law says you have to have these loads secured and you have to have them covered with a tarp,” said Freel.
Most debris can be prevented from becoming a flying or falling hazard on the road.
“You have to have it tied down and covered, so it can't escape your vehicle. That's it. It's pretty simple,” said Freel.
It's also up to an officer, deputy or trooper to decide whether a load is secure or not.
If you're hauling anything on the road, the best advice is to tie-it-down and cover it-up to make sure you don't cause "dangerous debris."