Press Release – The Wyoming Highway Patrol will be participating in a national safety campaign on June 6th to bring awareness to the dangers of unsecured loads on Wyoming highways. Since 2008, 1,833 crashes in Wyoming have been attributed to an unsecure load. From those crashes, 14 fatalities and 287 injuries resulted.
The “Secure Your Load” safety campaign initiative was originally started by a Washington resident named Robin Abel after Abel’s daughter was blinded from a piece of an unsecured load back in February of 2004 (http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/11/health/road-debris-deadly-hazard/index.html). Abel reached out to WYDOT Director William T. “Bill” Panos back in February to inform WYDOT of the campaign and asked if Wyoming would be willing to participate.
Wyoming Statute 31-5-228 states “No vehicle shall be driven or moved on any highway unless the vehicle is so constructed or loaded as to prevent any of its load from dropping, sifting, leaking or otherwise escaping therefrom.” This state law carries a $70 fine. Under Federal Commercial Carrier Regulations, the driver of a commercial truck can be fined $170 for an unsecured load violation and placed out of service until the load is properly secured.
To combat unsecured loads, the campaign recommends to:
Secure loads down with rope, netting, or straps
Secure large objects directly to your vehicle or trailer
Consider covering the entire load with a sturdy tarp or netting
Don’t overload your vehicle or trailer
The campaign also recommends to ask yourself:
Is there any chance of debris or cargo falling or blowing out of my vehicle?
Is my load secured at the back, sides and top?
What would happen to my load if I had to brake suddenly, hit a bump, or if another vehicle hit me?
Would I want my loaded vehicle driving through my neighborhood?
Would I feel safe driving behind my vehicle?
To bring awareness to the campaign and the dangers of unsecured loads, WYDOT and the Wyoming Highway Patrol will utilizing Variable Message Signs on state highways and posting about the campaign on social media.