A 70-year-old man from Virginia suffered serious injuries after colliding with a road sign that had flown out of the bed of a pickup truck on U.S. 301 through Clay County, Florida (FL). The crash occurred near the interchange with County Road 218 on July 8, 2015.
According to the Florida Times-Union, the contractor who allowed the sign to end up in the roadway and become a dangerous obstacle was doing a job for the state transportation department. Police cited the contractor for carrying an unsecured load. The nature of the injuries to the man identified as Richard Allen Hamilton of Strasburg, Va., was not disclosed.
State and federal laws require commercial truck drivers to use cords, cages and tarps to prevent the materials they carry from turning into flying debris and road hazards. Despite those regulations, unsecured loads create hundreds of crashes each year. Some of the most-dramatic incidents make national headlines, such as a pickaxe smashing through a car's windshield in Washington State. Each unsecured load presents deadly risks, however. Especially at highway speeds, steering around an airborne tool, a loose log or, in this case, a sign in the middle of a travel lane can be impossible.
Deadly consequences did not result, but the man injured in Florida does have strong grounds for filing insurance claims against the contractor and, potentially, the contractor's employer. Failing to adequately secure a load constitutes negligence, as can failing to exercise sufficient oversight to ensure an employee takes proper measures to safeguard members of the public.