Securing Your Load Makes Roads Safer
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2016, there were more than 19,500 injuries and 683 fatalities related to unsecured loads. There were more than 90,000 total traffic incidents caused by unsecured loads that year. Resulting road debris is usually the culprit in such incidents. There were more than 200,000 crashes caused by road debris between 2011 and 2014, according to a AAA study. The nation spends in the neighborhood of $11 billion per year on litter, and one estimate is that 25 to 40 percent of that litter is the result of unsecured loads.
Below is a CBS Evening News report on the AAA study of crashes caused by road debris.
Victims Bring About Change
One mother, whose daughter was catastrophically injured in an incident caused by an unsecured load, made it her mission to bring awareness to this very avoidable danger and to do what she could to make sure that what happened to her daughter did not happen to other families. Her logic was that we make sure to securely fasten our children into their proper restraints, yet do not do the work to make sure that motorists are required to secure their loads. The Secure Your Load movement was founded in 2004. Its mission was to raise awareness, but also to bring about a change in the laws. Since that time, the movement has resulted in real change. In 2015, under President Obama, the Fast Act included load-securing recommendations to states.
States embraced the safety campaign to varying degrees. Washington State enacted a one-month patrol focused on load securement, and worked in tandem with waste facilities throughout the state. Alaska is another state that endeavored to reduce the number of traffic incidents caused by unsecured loads. One Alaskan resident spearheaded the movement in her state after she sustained head injuries caused by road debris. Partially as a result of her advocacy, in 2017, the Anchorage Waste Facility fined more than 1,100 drivers for unsecured loads.
These Incidents are Foreseeable and Avoidable
Unsecured loads and resulting road debris do not cause “freak accidents.” These incidents are foreseeable and mostly preventable with a short amount of time and inexpensive equipment. The weight of the objects being transported is not a sufficient measure as to how secure they are, and neither is the idea that if the loader crams the items so tightly together, they will not budge during movement. All items still need to be securely fastened to the transporting vehicle.
More Work to be Done
Though the Secure Your Load campaign has produced many positive changes, there is more work to be done. The advocates for the movement would like to see more programs at waste facilities, highway safety education, Department of Transportation cameras, and enforcement. Another goal is to have each state update its drivers’ guides with information about the danger of unsecured loads.
Here are five simple steps that can greatly reduce the chances of cargo becoming dangerous road debris:
- Securely tie down the load with netting, rope, and/or straps.
- Cover the entire load with secured netting or a sturdy tarp.
- Large objects should be tied directly to the vehicle or trailer.
- The vehicle should not be overloaded.
- Double, then triple-check that the load is secure.
- Be as careful as you would if someone you loved was driving in the vehicle behind yours.
Sacramento, California Personal Injury Lawyer
My name is Ed Smith. For nearly 40 years, I have worked on behalf of injured Sacramentans as a personal injury lawyer. If you have been injured due to the negligence of another, my staff and I are available to offer free, friendly advice. Our local number is (916) 921-6400, and the toll-free is (800) 404-5400. We also offer an online contact form.
Below are a few links that will help you learn more about our services:
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