Monday, February 1, 2010

Is Your Load Secured?

Contributed by Norm Nyhuis, Trainer, Evergreen Safety Council

Would YOU want to be driving your vehicle, and following behind this truck-load of bricks? Neither would I.

Many of us have experienced a chipped windshield due to a stone being thrown from the roadway or dropping from a loaded truck. Imagine for a moment what it would be like to have a brick crash through your windshield.

Several years ago my wife and I were driving under a high overpass when a soft-ball-sized rock came bouncing down and struck our windshield, dead center, just below the rear-view mirror. I never want to repeat that event; it was both frightening and had traffic been more congested - it would have resulted in a head-on collision, as our car crossed over the centerline momentarily before I regained control.

The rock penetrated the windshield, coming half way through and sticking there. The inner plastic layer of the safety glass worked as designed and prevented the rock from fully passing through the glass. Did that rock fall from a loaded truck crossing the overpass at the same time we were passing underneath? Could very well have been so.

Washington State Law is very clear about the responsibility of every driver to secure the load on their vehicle.

RCW 46.61.655 - Dropping load, other materials — Covering.

(1) No vehicle shall be driven or moved on any public highway unless such vehicle is so constructed or loaded as to prevent any of its load from dropping, sifting, leaking, or otherwise escaping therefrom, except that sand may be dropped for the purpose of securing traction.

There is no distinction in the law between a load dropped from a 105,000 lb double dump truck or any one of us making that weekend trip to the local transfer station in a ½ ton pickup or towing a utility trailer, with a load of yard waste and trash. Take a word of advice and always cover and securely tie your load so nothing can be dropped, thrown or blown from the load.

If any of you have a story you’d be willing to share about lost loads, or your attempts – successful or otherwise – to avoid striking or being struck by the dropped material, please take a moment and post your story on our blog. Thanks for sharing!!!
ESC also offers a free online Secure Your Load training. It was designed to inform and protect the general public. If spring cleaning, dump runs, and hauling mulch and garden debris are in your future, take 45 minutes to protect yourself and those traveling the roads behind you.

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