The Prevalence of Motor Vehicle Crashes Involving Road Debris, United States, 2011-2014

Previous research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that debris deposited on the roadway by motor vehicles contributed to an estimated 25,000 crashes which resulted in 81-90 deaths in the year 2001 (Forbes & Robinson, 2004). The purpose of this study was to update the previous study with the most recent data available. This study examined three publicly-available sources of data on motor vehicle crashes in the United States to estimate the number of crashes that involved debris on the roadway. Debris-related crashes were defined as crashes in which a vehicle struck or was struck by an object that fell or became detached from another vehicle, struck a non-fixed object on the roadway, or crashed after swerving to avoid an object on the roadway. Crashes that involved live animals, trees falling onto vehicles, debris associated with a recent previous crash, construction-related debris in work zones, or debris outside of the travel lane were not counted as debris-related crashes. Results suggest that road debris was a factor in an estimated average of 50,658 police-reported crashes (95% Confidence Interval: 42,066 – 59,250) which resulted in 9,805 injuries (7,714 – 11,896) and 125 deaths (104 – 144) annually in the United States over years 2011 – 2014. Compared with crashes that did not involve debris, debris-related crashes were approximately 4 times as likely to occur on Interstate highways. Compared with all drivers involved in crashes, drivers who struck or were struck by debris were approximately 20% more likely to be men.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 18p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01610795
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 25 2016 10:55AM