Passengers in a car narrowly escaped serious injury after an ax flew off a landscaper’s dump truck and smashed the windshield of their vehicle. The ax went partially through the glass before it stopped. At the time of the accident, the car was travelling behind the truck on Route 95 in Massachusetts.
According to ABC News (7.30.14), Massachusetts State Police said the ax had not been properly secured by the truck. The passengers of the car survived the harrowing incident and the unidentified truck driver was fined $200 “for failure to secure cargo.”
Following the accident, Massachusetts State Police asked other motorists to properly secure items they are transporting, said ABC News. Officers hoped that the incident “served as a tale of caution.” Drivers must properly secure items they are carrying like tools, bicycles, canoes and furniture. The accident was also a reminder to follow the speed limit. The driver of the car that was hit by the ax was obeying the speed limit and driving approximately 65 mph. Officers noted that if the car had been traveling faster, its increased velocity would have increased the ax’s impact, resulting in a possibly fatal situation.
Unsecured truck loads can endanger the lives of drivers. If a truck’s cargo is improperly secured while the truck is moving, falling or flying objects may collide with another vehicle, distract nearby drivers or, when cars swerve or stop to avoid hitting it, cause a crash. Any one of these scenarios can cause serious injuries, or even death.
There are rules and regulations that truck drivers and trucking companies must follow. Truck drivers and the companies they work for are responsible for checking the cargo before the vehicle heads out on the road. However, even with laws requiring that the trucker or trucking company secure the truck’s load, accidents similar to the one with the ax are an all too common occurrence. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data cited in a report by the United States Government Accountability Office, in 2010, there were about 51,000 crashes including almost 10,000 injured persons and 440 known fatalities involving a vehicle striking an object that came off another vehicle or a non-fixed object lying in the roadway.
Drivers in New York should be aware of the dangers involved when following behind a truck. Whenever possible, drivers should keep a substantial distance between their vehicle and the rear of a truck.