Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Securing Your Load

Years ago, my husband witnessed a barbecue fly off the back of a truck onto the freeway. Being the Good Samaritan that he is, he pulled over, got out, ran across the freeway, and helped the driver move the barbecue to the side of the road. Luckily nobody was hurt.

I always tend to get nervous when I see find myself driving directly behind a truck, like the one below, carrying anything that could potentially fall off. I generally make it a habit to change lanes.


After hearing my husband's story recently, I got to thinking about just how dangerous it can be when any object becomes unsecured while driving at such high speeds. There are so many potentially dangerous scenarios. A report by the AAA Foundation estimates that twenty-five thousand accidents per year in North America are the result of unsecured loads.

Photo from the State of Washington Department of Ecology Website

I presume that this is the reason Washington has strict laws regarding securing loads while driving. RCW 46.61.655 states in part that
  1. 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 therefrom, except that sand may be dropped for the purpose of securing traction.
  2. No person may operate on any public highway any vehicle with any load unless the load and such covering as required thereon by subsection (3) of this section is securely fastened to prevent the covering or load from becoming loose, detached, or in any manner a hazard to other users of the highway.
  3. Any vehicle operating on a paved public highway with a load of dirt, sand, or gravel susceptible to being dropped, spilled, leaked, or otherwise escaping therefrom shall be covered so as to prevent spillage. Covering of such loads is not required if six inches of freeboard is maintained within the bed.

The law is straight forward and is basically what the average person would expect. However, what people may not be aware of or expect are the crimes associated with failing to secure a load. The same RCW outlines that a person is guilty of:
  1. Failure to secure a load in the first degree if, with criminal negligence, he fails to secure a load in compliance with the subsections listed above and causes substantial bodily harm to another,
  2. Failure to secure a load in the second degree if, with criminal negligence, he fails to secure a load in compliance with the first two subsections listed above, and causes damage to property of another, and
  3. An infraction, if the person fails to secure a load or part of a load in compliance with the subsections listed above and the failure does not amount to one of the crimes listed above.
If ever in doubt about how to secure your load, visit the State of Washington Department of Ecology website for tips and videos on how to secure your load and keep the roads safe.



2 comments:

  1. Thanks for highlighting safe loading of vehicles.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The written piece is truly fruitful for me personally; continue posting these types of articles.
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