At first instinct, many begin fastening seat belts for their children and themselves, but what about the loads in the back of their pickup trucks?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), each year, about 730 people are killed and 17,000 more are injured because of objects on the road. Most of these accidents involve unsecured loads on passenger vehicles. In addition to the safety hazards, debris from unsecured loads contributes to roadside litter which costs Mississippi more than $3 million per year to remove.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) top priority is the safety of the traveling public. MDOT recognizes June 6 as “Secure Your Load Day.”
“Before you drive, ask yourself if you would feel safe driving behind your vehicle,” said Brad White, MDOT Executive Director. “A few extra minutes spent securing your load could save a life. Properly securing your load also reduces litter on Mississippi highways and helps you steer clear of legal consequences.”
Motorists responsible for debris from unsecured loads could face fines up to $500 and up to six months in prison.
Mississippi motorists can help keep others safe and avoid legal troubles by:
- Tying down the load with rope, netting or straps.
- Tying large objects directly to the vehicle or trailer.
- Covering the entire load with a sturdy tarp.
- Not overloading the vehicle.
- Always double checking the load to make sure it is secure.
- Using safety chains when hauling trailers.
“Secure Your Load Day” is part of a nationwide effort of the Governors Highway Safety Association to raise awareness about the dangers of debris falling from vehicles. It was spearheaded by Robin Abel whose daughter was blinded by a piece of particle board that flew from the back of a moving trailer on Interstate 405 in Seattle, Wash.
“Secure your load as if everyone you love is driving in the car behind you,” Abel said.