Road debris impacts California tax payers and the local environment.


In 2005 CALTRANS spent $55 million on the removal and disposal of 143,000 cubic yards of road debris.

The annual cost to California’s public agencies for clean-up, disposal and prevention of litter is $375.2 million (according to the Earth Resource Foundation). Due to its size and dangerous location for removal, road debris is a major constituent of highway litter.


Road debris-related traffic congestion wastes productive time and fuel.

Nationally, from 1982 to 2003, it’s estimated that urban traffic congestion cost the U.S. $63.1 billion in lost productivity and unnecessary fuel consumption. During that same twenty-year period (back when the cost of gasoline ranged from 85¢ to $1.75 per gallon*) 2.3 billion gallons of fuel were burned while idling in stop-and-go traffic jams.

* Note: The cost of fuel is now 300-400% higher than then, so the cost of wasted fuel is far more significant.

Local example: in 2005, Sacramento ranked 23rd nationally, with a $619 million loss in productive time and unnecessary fuel consumption while stuck in congested traffic.


Road debris puts a heavy burden on the insurance companies and the insured.


According to the California Department of Insurance, statewide loss incurred for 2004:


  • $8.3 billion: private auto/physical damage
  • $10.7 billion: private auto/liability
  • $7.5 million: commercial auto/physical damage
  • $2.2 billion: commercial auto/liability   Note that the above study did not include
  • A recent study by the American Automobile Association Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that vehicle-related road debris causes 25,000 crashes with well above 100 deaths every year.
  • Road debris puts at risk all vehicle occupants.
  • Although unknown at this time, a conservative estimate is that 10% of the above losses are attributed to road debris.
  • Non-fatal, disabling, or life-changing injuries
  • Secondary accidents that are a direct result from the primary accident
  • Injuries to occupants inside light trucks and SUVs carrying unsecured cargo Who is to blame for debris-related accidents? Tire carcasses littering our highways from professional trucker’s.
  • Irresponsible and negligent haulers of the US’s 90+ million light-duty trucks and trailers—contractors, homeowners, sportsmen, and vacationers. Open-bed vehicles cause 60% of litter and debris on our roads and highways.