How Secure is your load?
“Secure Your Load” is a national campaign to remind and encourage drivers to make sure whatever they’re hauling is secure in their vehicle.
Most of us have been on either the freeway or residential roadway where we have noticed a car, truck or trailer loaded down with items that look to be held down by nothing more than hopes and dreams. Loads that aren’t securely attached to a vehicle can become very dangerous to both the driver and other motorist. So dangerous are unsecure loads that they are responsible for as many as 440 deaths a year nationwide.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety it is reported that more than 200,000 crashes are related to road debris and/or unsecure loads. Those crashes resulted in 39,000 injuries and as stated earlier close to 500 deaths, 40% of those deaths occurring as a result of a driver attempting to avoid hitting something in their path. Debris in the road is not only incredibly dangerous, but it is also costly to the city and tax payers costing roughly $4 million dollars a year in the state of Oklahoma according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
The “Secure Your Load” national campaign was spear headed by a passionate mother of a young woman that almost lost her life as a result of an unsecure load. Robin Abel, mother to Maria Federici became a crusader against unsecure loads after her daughter, who at the time was 24 was blinded and nearly killed by a piece of particle board that flew out of a rented moving trailer. At the time of Abel’s daughters crash there were no laws addressing the consequences of poorly secured loads and the driver was simply ticketed a basic traffic citation and fined. It became Robin’s mission to fight for a new law that would match the severity in which people’s lives can be impacted as the result of unsecure loads or debris that have been left in the roadway. In 2015 her voice, along with the number of crashes related to her cause could no longer be denied as a serious issue, and the National Transportation Bill was signed. This bill included a paragraph that Robin felt highlighted her concerns the best which stated, “The committee is concerned about the dangers posed by unsecured loads on non-commercial vehicles.” The law coined “Maria’s Law” after Robin’s daughter also criminalized a person’s failure to properly secure a load that resulted in an injury or death. The National Transportation Bill and Robin’s never-ending dedication to bringing awareness about this issue has allowed for open dialogue to take place across the nation about how better to prevent unsecure load related accidents.
There are ways you can ensure you don’t cause an unsecure load related accident when traveling on the roadways and it starts with knowing it’s your responsibility to keep others safe from items you have loaded onto your vehicle. I wanted to provide a few tips that I found on the AAA Foundation webpage on how to properly secure your car load which are; to tie down load with rope, netting or straps, tie large objects directly to the vehicle or trailer, cover the entire load with a sturdy tarp or netting, DON’T overload your vehicle and always double check to make sure everything is secure.
In the state of Oklahoma state troopers are responding to debris in the roadway almost as much as they respond to all other calls, and our Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) workers are tasked with removing those debris as well which is an incredibly dangerous job. In fact, in 2007 ODOT worker Robert Cherry stopped along a stretch of U.S Highway I69 in Tulsa to remove debris and was struck and killed by a passing garbage truck. State Troopers continue to remind citizens that unsecure loads of any kind are dangerous for everyone involved and ask that people think about their lives, the lives of their loved ones and the lives of others every time they are securing a load to their vehicle.
On June 4th, 2019 the state of Oklahoma will recognize the official “Secure Your Load” day, which falls in National “Secure Your Load Week,” beginning on June 3rd. We ask that you join Keep Oklahoma Beautiful along with, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol for a special press release taking place on June 4that 10:00 a.m at I-35 and 122nd Park and Ride, on the Northeast corner of I-35 and 122nd. We will be discussing the impact of unsecure loads and why it is the responsibility of every Oklahoman to spread awareness about this necessary campaign, asking all motorist to “Secure Your Load.”
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