State increases patrols and outreach in an effort to reduce litter and traffic fatalities

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

OLYMPIA – Every year in Washington, debris from unsecured loads causes more than 300 traffic crashes and 30 injuries. In 2022, that toll included five deaths attributed to debris in the roadway. 

Not only is litter unsightly and diminishes the beauty of our state, it’s dangerous to travelers, roadside workers and people who walk, bike and roll. 

Additionally, 40% of roadside litter comes from unsecured items falling or blowing from trucks and cars, according to the 2022 statewide litter study.

So how can we prevent this? It all starts with simply strapping down and securing all items in your car, truck or trailer on every trip – even if it’s just across town.

“We are calling on everyone in Washington to help save lives by securing their cargo every time they drive,” said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. 
“Two out of three Washingtonians do the right thing and properly secure their loads, but the truth is that five of our fellow residents lost their lives last year due to unsecured cargo, and that is unacceptable. We all need to do our part to protect each other, and to protect our state’s environment.”

On June 6, the Washington State Patrol, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, the Washington State Department of Transportation and the Washington Department of Ecology are banding together to mark National Secure Your Load Day

Along with raising public awareness about the importance of properly securing cargo, the event commemorates people whose lives were taken or impacted by unsecured loads. 

“Our troopers and commercial enforcement officers contact more than 1,000 motorists each year for failing to properly secure their vehicle’s loads,” said Washington State Patrol (WSP) Chief John Batiste. 
“Collisions caused by unsecured loads are entirely preventable. Ensuring all items are properly secured enables us all to have safe roadways.”

As a part of the annual campaign, state troopers are conducting emphasis patrols across Washington for three consecutive weekends between June 9 and June 25. Emphasis patrols during that time will have Troopers looking for unsecured loads, stopping drivers and handing out tickets to those whose loads are not properly secured in accordance with state law

Fines for littering and unsecured loads range from $50 to $5,000. If an item falls out and causes bodily harm or property damage, the driver could also face jail time. The largest fines are for “lit debris” — primarily cigarettes — and items that can cause vehicle crashes.


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