Monday, November 1, 2010

Secure your load

Contributed by Norm Nyhuis, Trainer, Evergreen Safety Council
There have been many articles, in both the electronic and the printed media, in recent months about securing your load, and the consequences of loosing a load. The consequences range all the way from damaged items to potential collisions caused when vehicle following behind attempt to dodge and miss the unexpected obstruction in their lane of travel.

It was five years ago, July 2005, that RCW 46.61.655 became law. If you operate a vehicle on the highways of this state, and your vehicles carry a load of any kind; you need to understand this law and others regarding safely securing your load. This law came into being following a tragic event on Interstate 405, where the loss of a piece of furniture from a vehicle caused serious, life threatening injuries, and permanent blindness to an innocent driver. The law, is also known as the Federici Bill.

I thought, with all the media attention, and just that fact that we’ve been hearing the story for more than five years, that by now drivers would have gotten the message, and were now insuring their loads were well secured, with no chance for things to fall off, or blow out, . . . . but something I saw on Interstate 5 during the afternoon commute tells me there are still drivers “out there” who haven’t gotten the message.

While making our way through the heavy, stop-and-go traffic around the approaches to SR-16 and the construction in the Nalley Valley Viaduct area of Tacoma, we encountered what you see the photo. This little couch apparently was too large to fit inside the canopy of the compact sized pickup truck. It’s also wider than the box of the pickup truck’s box. Apparently the driver felt that a single, narrow fabric strap was sufficient to hold this bulky item . . . not INSIDE the pickup, but balanced on the tailgate.

We’re not sure what all was actually inside the little pickup box, but that, added to the weight of the couch, cantilevered out on the tailgate certainly has caused the rear of the truck to sag.

So, let’s recap all the errors:
(1) – the load is only secured with a single narrow fabric strap. The strap’s capacity and condition are unknown, not to mention the relative strength of whatever part of the vehicle the strap is attached to.
(2) - the load is so wide that the view from all three rear-view mirrors is either fully blocked or restricted in its arc of view.
(3) - the width of the couch completely blocks the tail lights, turn signals and stop lights. (4) - the load weight, and placement has altered the “balance” of the vehicle, and has caused the front tires to be lightly loaded, potentially increasing the possibility of loss of steering control particularly on a bumpy road.

Conclusion: There are just times when you need a bigger truck, and this was one of them.

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1 comment:

  1. American Cord & Webbing, Made in U.S.A manufacturer of webbing and straps. OEM supplier, great company or 401 762-5500.


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