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Dangers Of Lost Loads And Highway Debris

This week we covered a news story of two lost loads of I-5 in Washington State: lost loads that caused car accidents and car accident injuries. In most cases, lost loads and road debris are the direct cause of incorrectly secured loads.

According to the King County Solid Waste Division, 25,000 vehicle accidents across the country are caused by waste dumped on the side of the road or debris that falls from a car, SUV, or truck while driving. In Washington State, 350 accidents annually are caused by dumping and unsecured loads.

Having an unsecured load is not only dangerous, it’s against the law. You can receive a fine of over $200 for traveling with an unsecured load, and if someone is hurt or killed because of your unsecured load, you could be charged with a gross misdemeanor, face a year in prison and be fined $5,000. In addition, vehicles that show up at transfer stations with unsecured loads can be fined on the spot.

How can you properly secure your load and prevent highway accidents?

  • Make sure your load is secured in more than one place, both right and left and both top and bottom. Your load should not shift in any direction.
  • Make sure that your load will not slide forward when you apply the brakes on your car or truck.
  • Keep the materials in your truck bed level with the sides of the bed. If you need to load more, use a well-secured tarp to cover the load.
  • If you are hauling light materials, load them on the bottom of the truck bed. If you are only hauling light materials, such as leaves, cover them securely with a net or tarp.
  • Check and double-check your load.
  • If you feel that you may have to drive slower with your load than usual, that may be a sign that your load is not properly secured.