Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Safe cargo: the right way to secure your load

Safe cargo: the right way to secure your load
Making Washington roads safer and cleaner

Department of Ecology News Release - April 15, 2008


Safe cargo: the right way to secure your load
Making Washington roads safer and cleaner

SPOKANE – You still see it: A truck or trailer stacked with items that makes you wonder how it all stays on – and if it’s safe. Each year, poorly-secured or un-secured loads contribute to more than 400 vehicle accidents in Washington. Many accidents and injuries could be prevented simply by securing vehicle loads more effectively.

To help people learn the right way to secure a load, the Department of Ecology (Ecology) and the Washington State Patrol held a demonstration this morning at a Spokane-area home. The demonstration featured various tools available to help motorists secure a load: ratchet straps, nets, cargo bars, and tarps.

Ecology recently released a new “Tips for secured loads” video and brochure that provide common-sense guidelines for securing various loads, from yard debris and construction materials to household goods and garbage. Both are available on line or by calling 360-407-6900.

“You need to be ready to correctly secure the materials you’re transporting before you start loading,” commented Megan Warfield, Ecology’s litter programs coordinator. “It takes a little extra effort to make a load safe and comply with the law, but at the end of the trip the peace of mind knowing you did not cause an accident that killed someone is priceless.”

The demonstration coincides with increased enforcement of secured load laws. Last Sunday, April 13, the Washington State Patrol began conducting emphasis patrols, issuing tickets to drivers with unsecured loads.

"Loss of load incidents are entirely preventable," said Washington State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste. "Spending just a few minutes securing a load can save someone from serious injury or death."

The fine for driving with an unsecured load is $216. The penalty can go up to $5,000 and include jail-time if the item causes property damage or injury.

As part of the ongoing “Litter and it will hurt” campaign, Ecology and the State Patrol are partnering to eliminate road debris and accidents caused by unsecured loads. A key strategy is to improve road safety by educating Washington residents on how they can properly secure the materials they transport.

Ecology’s “Litter and it will hurt” campaign combines public awareness efforts and law enforcement tools to capture people’s attention and send a very serious message: Litter is more than an eyesore. It’s dangerous. And those who litter face significant consequences and fines.

Ecology is leading the campaign effort, in cooperation with the State Patrol and many other state and local partners.

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Megan Warfield, litter programs coordinator, 360-407-6963
Jani Gilbert, Ecology media relations, 509-329-3495
Molly Brumley, Colehour+Cohen, 206-262-0363, cell 206-819-6164

More information can be found at

*Audio Cuts:

NOTE: Event is planned for Tri-Cities on April 17

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