Failure to Secure a Load: Washington State Part 2

Washington State law RCW 46.61.655 specifically
states that “No vehicle shall be driven or moved on any public highway unless
such vehicle is so constructed or loaded as to prevent any of its load from
dropping, sifting, leaking or otherwise escaping…” Put simply, traveling with
an unsecured load is against the law. If any part of your load can escape your
vehicle; you can be ticketed — even if it doesn’t escape. If something being
hauled on a truck, trailer or vehicle does fly off or leak out and harms or
damages a person or property; a stiff penalty may be issued. Tickets from
Washington State Patrol and local police can cost up to several thousand
dollars; in serious cases, a person may even spend time in jail. If you arrive
at a landfill or transfer station with an unsecured load of garbage, you will
be charged extra. Note that some communities have stricter load ordinances that
go beyond the state law, requiring loads to be covered. Check with local
authorities to be sure you are in compliance.

Tips to secure a load
continued

Secure cushions, pillows and other loose light items from
flying away in the wind.

Strap and secure heavy items such as mattresses and
furniture to the vehicle.

Be aware that uncovered materials such as wallboard or
cardboard can disintegrate if they become wet in rain or snow. Cover items with
a solid, water-proof tarp to prevent debris from flying into the air.

Fully cover loose material such as dirt with a solid tarp
and secure the tarp to the truck or trailer.

If the load extends four feet beyond the bed of a truck or
trailer, all four corners should be tagged with one foot by one foot red flags.

Before driving on a paved, public road all mud, rocks and
other debris should be cleaned off of the vehicle’s body, fenders, frame,
undercarriage, wheels and tires.

If you are able to stop, check that nothing in your load has
loosened or shifted.

Use the appropriate tie-down for your load: straps, ropes
and chains. As a general rule, the straps should be rated with a holding
strength twice the weight of the load. Bungee cords should not be used as
primary tie-downs but they can be used to secure items together inside a load along
with twine, string, small gauge cord or rope. Cargo netting holds smaller,
lighter items in place, but isn’t designed to keep heavy items from sliding and
shifting. Sand bags, chocks and other blocking devices such as rubber mats can
help to reduce movement of cargo and help hold slippery items in place.

?? Adjustable tie-down hooks can easily be moved to
meet different needs.

?? A stake-hole eye bolt is a more solid but less
adjustable option.

?? A cargo bar buttresses against the sides of the
truck bed, helping to prevent items from sliding or tipping.

?? Webbed straps with tightening ratchets are some
of the most secure, easiest-to-use tie-downs.

You can help keep roadways clear: report littering by
calling 866-Litter-1.

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!

Traveling with
an unsecured load is against the law. If any part of your load can escape your
vehicle; you can be ticketed — even if it doesn’t escape. If something being
hauled on a truck, trailer or vehicle does fly off or leak out and harms or
damages a person or property; a stiff penalty may be issued.

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Michael John Tario

Licensed since 1980

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Licensed since 1980

Member at firm Tario & Associates, P.S.

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