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.

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.