Failure to Secure a Load: Washington State Part 1

We have all driven down the freeway and seen debris blowing
around due to another driver failing to secure a load. When material of any
kind falls off of a vehicle because it isn’t properly secured, it is littering.
No person shall throw, drop, deposit, discard, or otherwise dispose of litter
upon any public property in the state…whether from a vehicle or otherwise.”
(Source: RCW
70.93.060 (1)
). According to Washington State Patrol Records, approximately
37 percent of all litter-related citations issued by Washington State Patrol
are for a failure to secure a load. An additional 22 percent of citations are
issued for debris escaping from loads.

Road litter and debris is dangerous. Every year in North
America, road litter causes 25,000 accidents with almost 100 fatalities. Washington State
accounts for more than 400 accidents annually caused by road debris
. Many
of these accidents and injuries could be prevented by doing a better job to
secure a load.

What is a secured
load?

A load is secure when no cargo can slide, shift, fall or sift
onto the roadway or become airborne.

How to secure a load

All cargo should be secured to prevent movement forward and
backward, side-to-side and up and down. Take into account that many road
conditions can move, shift or tip a load: turning a corner, hitting a bump or
uneven pavement/gravel, a sudden braking or going up a steep hill. Wind or
heavy rain could also affect your load.

Place lighter items in the bottom of the load; heavier items
can be used to weigh down the lighter ones.

If possible, take two loads rather than filling the load to
the top edge of the truck bed or trailer. It is preferable to leave six inches
between the load and the top of the bed or trailer.

Block items by placing them against each other or bundle
them together to reduce shifting and movement.

Tall cargo should be placed against the back of the cab;
upright cargo should be strapped securely to the truck bed or trailer but, if
possible, lay tall items flat on the truck bed or trailer.

Block the wheels of rolling equipment to prevent movement: wrap
straps around and through the wheels.

Securely seal all boxes, bags and garbage cans to keep
contents from blowing away.

Wrap straps through and around items such as hand trucks and
ladders and then secure the straps to anchor points in the bed of the truck or
trailer.

Re-enforce and strap down small items like shovels and rakes.
Strap items such as gas cans and paint cans together and/or cover them with a
secured tarp. Hand tools should ideally be kept in the cab of the truck or in a
toolbox secured to the bed of the truck or trailer.

The list continues in Part 2.

If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you have
enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident
attorney
fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not
uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten
times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in
Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing
residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County
since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we
recover damages for you!

According to Washington State Patrol Records, approximately
37 percent of all litter-related citations issued by Washington State Patrol
are for a failure to secure a load. An additional 22 percent of citations are
issued for debris escaping from loads.

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