Junk on roads a driving hazard in Tampa Bay area

Traffic

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA)—It’s as common as rush hour traffic: trash, tires and pieces of metal—all over our roads.

Road debris is more than a mess—it’s a hazard.

Roadway junk was the cause of more than 200,000 crashes from 2011 to 2014, according to AAA.  Around 39,000 people were hurt.  More than 500 were killed.

“[It’s] Very frustrating,” said Betty, who didn’t want to give her name.  “But you know, with so much construction in South Tampa, there’s not much you can do about it.”

She told News Channel 8 that it’s the small stuff that can cause big problems.

“I have my tires always destroyed by screws,” she said.

Of course, there are a lot of objects out there.

“Unfortunately in the Tampa area, we have a lot of road debris,” said Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Steve Gaskins.  “Things that are falling off passing vehicles;  litter, trash, things of that nature.”

Gaskins tell us drivers are required to secure their loads, so things don’t spill.

Road Ranger Harold Griffin has driven Tampa Bay area roads for more than a decade.

“Some things you see and a lot of it you don’t see until you actually hit it,” Griffin said.

That’s why troopers and AAA warn people to be aware and follow certain rules when on the roads, so they don’t end up involved in a road debris wreck:

  • Scan the road, if possible.
  • Don’t follow too close; keep adequate distance between vehicles.
  • If you’re about to hit debris, slow down.

Last year, Florida Department of Transportation statistics show more than 178 tons of material from Tampa Bay area roads was picked up and thrown away, including 12 tons of waste tires.

That’s why it’s important to heed the warnings.

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