Two motorcyclists were hurt when a lawnmower fell off a trailer being towed by an SUV and collided with the motorcycle, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. It happened about 4:20 p.m. Saturday on State Road 13 in St. Johns County, just south of the Shands Bridge. The FHP said the large mower fell off the trailer, rolled down the road and crossed the center line into the path of the motorcycle. The rider of the motorcycle was flown by air ambulance to UF Health Jacksonville with life-threatening injuries, while the operator of the motorcycle was taken to Baptist South with serious injuries. The FHP said the crash remains under investigation and charges are pending.
According to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2001 over 36,000 drivers and passengers lost their lives; another 2.9 million were injured. Experts say that many injuries and deaths aren’t the result of the collision, but of unrestrained cargo, pets or passengers .
Costs of Poor Exterior Cargo Securement
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) states that highway litter caused approximately 440 fatalities in 2010. Variable reporting means that number could be even higher.
- The Washington State Department of Transportation estimates that each year in North America items either dumped on purpose or lost from unsecured roads cause 25,000 accidents.
- The U.S. National Cargo Security Council (NCSC) estimates that the global financial impact of cargo loss exceeds $50 billion annually.
- In a report prepared by the U.S. Government on highway safety entitled Federal and State Efforts Related to Accidents That Involve Non-Commercial Vehicles Carrying Unsecured Loads, the Washington State Department of Ecology estimates that 34 per cent of violations issued in 2003 were for load securement failure. Out of those violations, an additional 22 per cent were issued for debris escaping from those loads on to the roadways. The Washington State Department of Ecology suggests that unsecured loads cause up to 25 per cent of roadside litter.
- A report prepared for AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety in June 2004 on vehicle-related road debris (VRRD) states that at nearly 25 per cent, loose tires make up the most amount of litter on state highways. Automotive parts consist of 8 per cent of debris found, and other items associated with hauling unsecured loads (such as landscaping materials) account for close to 40 per cent of roadside litter.
- The same AAA report references one of the most famous road debris-related crashes. In 1998 film director Alan J. Pakula was killed on the Long Island expressway when a pipe that had dropped from a truck ahead of him was forced through his windshield.
- The Foundation studied several crash reports in an effort to determine just how many VRRD incidences occur yearly in North America. Their conclusion was that accidents occurring from unsecured cargo rates of account for 0.2 per cent of fatal crashes and 0.4 per cent of all other crashes, therefore can be estimated to cause over 25,000 crashes per year, claiming 81 to 90 lives.
It is important to remember that by properly securing your cargo you are not only ensuring you will deliver your load in one piece, but you are also being responsible to everyone else on the road.