Secure Your Truck Loads Part 2.

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In the Secure Your Truck Loads Part 1 I spoke about Robin Abel and her tireless work to pass laws to keep us all safer on our roads.   Thanks to Seattle Public Utilities for sending the following information about securing truck loads to its employees:

  • Driving with an unsecured load is against Washington state law. The fine for transporting an unsecured load is $216. If an item falls off a vehicle and causes bodily harm, the driver faces gross misdemeanor charges and penalties of up to $5,000 and/or up to a year in prison.

Q:    What is an unsecured load?Unsecured silver truck   An unsecured load has not been fastened in or attached to the vehicle with tarps, rope, straps, netting, or chains, so as to prevent any part of the load or the covering from becoming loose, detached, or leaving the vehicle while the vehicle is moving.

“But I’m just going a short way and I won’t be driving fast.” Even if you are driving slowly for just a couple of blocks you are still required to secure your load. The law is clear – every vehicle that travels on every publicly maintained road must have a secured load.

“But what I’m hauling is so heavy it couldn’t possibly fall out.” Just because you can’t imagine it happening doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened.  Each year, heavy items such as large truck tires, spools of wire, and large pieces of wood fall from vehicles and end up on our roadways creating hazards for motorists. Take the time to always secure your load.

“But my load is below the top of the truck bed.” Even with a small load, items can shift and become loose or airborne. Don’t risk it – secure your load.

Q:  What is a secured load? A load is secure when nothing can slide, shift, fall, or sift onto the roadway, or become airborne. To secure your load:

Ø  Cover your load with a tarp. Covering your load with a tarp and then securely fastening the tarp to the vehicle is good way to ensure that your load is secure.

Ø  Tie down using rope, netting, straps, or chains. Tie large items directly to your vehicle. Make sure that any covering is securely tied down.

Ø  Put lighter items lower and place heavier items on top to help keep them in place and secure the heavy items to your vehicle.

Ø  Don’t overload your vehicle.

Ø  Double-check that your load is secure.

Q:  What should I look for to make sure my truck load is secure?

Ø  Is there any chance of debris or cargo falling or blowing out of my vehicle?

Ø  Is my load secured at the back, sides, and top?   Ø  What would happen to my load if I had to brake suddenly or if I hit a bump or if another vehicle hit mine?

Ø  Would I want my loaded vehicle driving through my neighborhood?

Ø  Would I feel safe if I were driving behind my vehicle?

Secure your load as if everyone you loved were in a car behind you.