FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 6, 2017
Harrisburg, PA – With the goal of preventing crashes caused by debris falling from vehicles, the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today joined to recognize June 6 as “Secure Your Load Day” in Pennsylvania.
“Secure Your Load Day” is a nationwide initiative conceived by Robin Abel, whose daughter was catastrophically injured in Washington State when an unsecured piece of particle board flew from the back of a moving trailer and through her windshield. The 2004 accident nearly killed the 24-year-old and left her totally blind.
Pennsylvania law mandates that any vehicle driven on a highway must be loaded in a way that prevents its load from dropping, shifting, leaking, or otherwise escaping. If any item or piece of a load falls from a vehicle and causes property damage or injury to another person, the driver faces a fine of up to $1,000. A violation that does not result in injury or property damage is punishable by a fine of up to $300.
In 2016, troopers issued 571 citations to drivers who failed to properly secure their cargo.
More important than any potential fine, however, is the responsibility we all share to keep fellow drivers and passengers safe, according to Major Edward Hoke, director of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Patrol.
“No one sets out with the intention to cause a life-changing traffic accident, but failing to properly secure items in your truck bed or trailer puts everyone at risk,” Major Hoke said. “We’re asking everyone to secure their loads as if someone they love is in the car behind them.”
A 2016 study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that more than 200,000 crashes in the United States over the previous four years involved debris on the roadway. The study also showed that debris-related crashes are much more likely to occur on interstate highways, where driving at higher speeds increases the risk of cargo falling onto the road.
“Keeping our highways free of debris and obstructions is critically important to the safety of not only drivers, but also road crews and first responders,” Secretary Leslie S. Richards said. “An extra five minutes to ensure your load is properly secured could prevent a tragic crash.”
Experts offer the following advice to keep a load secure when driving:
- Ensure the vehicle or trailer is properly maintained before loading; check the tires for proper inflation.
- Tie down the items with strong rope, netting or ratchet straps.
- Fasten larger items directly to the vehicle or trailer – never rely on the weight of an item to keep it stable.
- Make multiple trips if necessary; don’t overload the vehicle.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Ryan Tarkowski, PSP 717-783-5556
Ashely Schoch, PennDOT 717-783-8800
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