Freeway Crash Highlights Dangers Of Flying Debris

Police are still investigating Tuesday morning’s fatal crash near downtown Houston in which a driver was killed by a tire that came off a truck.

Investigators say the circumstances of the crash were very unusual. A tire broke off a pickup truck headed southbound on I-45 near Bagby Street. It bounced into the northbound lanes and hit an SUV. The driver was killed. 

But on a normal day, Houston drivers see all kinds of debris on the roadway, mostly things that fly out of the backs of trucks like mattresses and ladders.

TxDOT’s Karen Othon says it’s a round-the-clock job to keep roads cleared of debris. In 2016, TxDOT says there were over 1,100 crashes around the state that were directly caused by unsecured loads. Most of those crashes happened in cities.

“Be aware, be on the lookout,” says Othon. “You have the bigger picture as you’re traveling down the roadway just in case there is something that falls off a vehicle, that you’re able to react to that situation.”  

A recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows close to 40% of fatal crashes caused by road debris involve a driver who swerved and over-corrected.

TxDOT says if you see debris on the roadway, you should call their hotline at (713) 802-5000.

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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