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One of the major issues with crashes on highways comes down to debris. Whether it’s rocks or materials from other vehicles that clutter the roadway, there’s a risk of people getting into a collision as a result.

Take, for example, someone driving on the highway with branches in the back of their truck bed. At high enough speeds, and without securing the items in place, they could fly into the air and onto the roads, impacting other vehicles.

Between 2011 and 2014, debris led to around 200,000 crashes reported to police and around 500 deaths. Knowing this, it’s obvious that debris is a major concern for drivers and their passengers. In all states, it’s possible to hold the driver accountable for the debris, if you know who it belongs to. In 16 states, people can be charged and face jail time if debris falls off a vehicle and causes injuries.

All drivers have to do is secure their loads. They should use netting and straps to keep items in place, and they should double check the load to make sure that none of the items come loose. For others, keep a safe distance between yourself and other vehicles. It’s the only way to give yourself enough time to avoid falling objects.

If you’re struck by debris as you drive and the driver stays at the scene, it’s a good idea to get information from witnesses as well. If the driver leaves, speak with those who witnessed the event and call 911 immediately for medical care. An early call to 911 could help the police stop the driver at fault for your crash.