(The Center Square) – Washington motorists are advised to secure loads carried by their vehicles as state Troopers and and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officers will conduct extra traffic stops and inspections on June 7, National Secure Your Load Day.
The Washington State Patrol reported 154 collisions caused by unsecured vehicle loads in 2019. The WSP’s officers made contact with more than 7,000 motorists that year for failing to secure their load properly, according to WSP data.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, unsecured loads and road debris caused 715 deaths, 16,595 injuries, and 82,479 property damage crashes in the United States in 2020.
The AAA Foundation estimates that two-thirds of debris-related crashes are the result of items falling from a vehicle due to improper maintenance and unsecured loads. That commonly occurs when furniture, appliances or other items fly off a vehicle, or when towed trailers are separated from the vehicle.
The foundation offers these tips in securing a load on a vehicle or trailer:
- Secure the items with rope, netting or straps.
- Consider using a sturdy tarp or netting to cover the entire load.
- Avoid overloading the vehicle.
- Check the back, sides and top of the load before departure.
- Ask, ‘Would I feel safe if I were driving behind my vehicle?’
Secure Your Load Day originated in Washington after a motorist was blinded by a large piece of particle board that had been ejected from a vehicle on I-405 in 2004.
The blinding incident led to the 2005 passage of “Maria’s Law,” which made it a crime punishable by up to one year in prison and a $5,000 fine for causing injury or death by failure to properly secure a load.
Failure to secure a load resulting in property damage is a misdemeanor offense.