Wednesday, May 9, 2007
Help Me Howard: Road Debris
Have you ever been rocked while riding down the road? I don't mean loud music -- I mean a rock hitting your windshield or your car. If it does cause damage, what can you do? That's why one man called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- I don't know about you, but, to be honest, once in awhile I am not concentrating fully when I drive; and then a car stopping, a red light or something else will snap me out of it.
For Carlos, it hit a little closer.
Carlos Contreras: "And at that point I realized that it wasn't a piece of paper but a baseball-sized piece of brick."
Carlos was heading down Interstate 95, about a hundred feet behind a truck loaded with debris.
Carlos Contreras: "It had no cover on it and pieces were just falling all over the place."
By the time Carlos saw that, he had been tagged.
Carlos Contreras: "And first it smacked here, and that's the one that really shook me. I'm amazed that the glass didn't shatter with the strength of the impact, and then it just banged up against it again."
Carlos did the smart thing -- he wrote down the name on the truck and their phone number and made a phone call.
Carlos Contreras: "I gave them all my information, and I never received a call of any kind."
Carlos now has a cracked windshield, and he says the problem would have been very easy for the trucking company to prevent.
Carlos Contreras: "How difficult would it have been for them to put the cover over the back of the truck?"
But what he can't get the trucking company to do is pay for his windshield, and that's when he turned to Help Me Howard.
Howard Finkelstein: "The law requires any vehicle carrying objects like rocks, gravel or garbage to secure their load. If they don't, they are liable for any damage caused, and it's also a traffic violation, and they can be fined for that."
After we talked to the company they told Carlos to come by, and let them see the damage.
Carlos Contreras: "It just, like, whacked me."
An employee examined it.
Pasquale: "But don't you think that could have been a road stone?"
They then sent the request to their lawyers, who refused to pay for Carlos's windshield, telling us there was no police report, that the truck was covered, and that Carlos's insurance company will replace the windshield for free.
Howard says its classic "he said, she said."
Howard Finkelstein: "If Carlos had stopped to get a police report he would not have been able to get the information off the truck. What I would do is get the information off the truck, then go back and call the police. But, don't forget, insurance companies do waive the deductible and replace windshields at no cost to the driver."
Carlos hates the idea of forcing his insurance company to pay for the damage and hopes the trucking company realizes that they might not be so lucky the next time.
Carlos Contreras: "I mean, this is just a warning to them that they got off easy because it's just an automobile window. However, this could have been somebody's life -- they could have caused an accident."
Patrick Fraser: "Now the crack on Carlos's windshield will eventually get bigger and police can write you a ticket for a cracked windshield. How big a crack? Well, the law leaves it up to the officer to decide if the crack is big enough to distract the driver. So, if you get pulled over with a ding in your windshield, be polite."
A situation rocked you? Want to avoid cracking up? Contact us -- we'll try to truck in a solution.
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