Who’s responsible for cracked windshields on the freeway? – Daily News


Q: Mike Spradlin of Norco said he recently saw two large trucks (a dump truck and a truck with a trailer carrying gravel) with signs posted on the back saying something like, “Warning: Keep back 200 feet – not responsible for cracked windshields.” Spradlin said he thought it is the driver’s responsibility to secure their load properly so no material falls out, potentially damaging other vehicles. “When I take a load of large trash items to the dump once a year, (Waste Management) tells me it’s my responsibility to cover the load, that I am liable. What is the law on this?”

A: It’s against the law to drive a vehicle on the highway which is improperly loaded so that any part of its load spills, blows out or falls out (with the exception of clear water or feathers from live birds), according to California Vehicle Code section 23114. CVC 23114 also explains how trucks should be equipped to transport aggregate material like gravel and rocks so the material is secure.

And those signs on trucks don’t absolve the driver of anything legally (nice try, though). California Highway Patrol Officer Dan Olivas of the Inland Division said the truck drivers could be trying to scare other drivers so they don’t report vehicle damage caused by falling rocks or gravel for which the trucking company might be liable. In any case, if your vehicle is damaged accidentally by falling gravel from a truck, and you can prove which truck caused the damage (perhaps with a dashcam), this would be a civil matter for a judge or an insurance company to decide. Olivas advised motorists to avoid driving behind or near trucks carrying gravel because of the increased risk of cracked windshields and chipped paint from falling debris.



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