Loose cargo is killing Ohio drivers, ODOT warns

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Too often we see trucks and trailers overloaded with cargo, and the problem is: the stuff they're hauling isn't always secure and that becomes a major headache for other motorists when it flies onto the roadway.

Scenarios like that play out on roads across Ohio all the time, causing thousands of crashes. The stuff being hauled often turns into fatal, flying objects.

Matt Bruning of The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) says, "We see about 20 fatalities each year in the State of Ohio, about 3,700 crashes each year that's caused by road debris. It's a lot. It's a big problem and it's preventable."

Bruning wants drivers to be aware of road dangers like these.

"Motorist will swerve to avoid it or they'll hit it, unfortunately. Or either they kicked it up and hit a motorist behind them."

Between 2012 and 2016 more than 524 people were seriously hurt and 97 people died statewide.  During that same period, in Cuyahoga County, there were over 1,100 crashes due to debris falling onto the highway. 40 people were seriously hurt. Nine people died.

"A lot of people just don't think about it.  In fact, in Ohio there is a tarp law where you're mandated to secure those loads and a lot of people just flat out don't know," said Bruning. "Talking to our roadway crews it's not uncommon for them to find grills to mattresses and even wheels."

ODOT asks that motorists please take the time to secure and cover whatever they're hauling, every time -- lives depend on it.

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