Kitsap County launches 'Secure Your Load for Safer Roads' campaign to raise awareness
KITSAP COUNTY, Wash. - There is something worse than being stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. It's being stuck behind an unsecured load. The debris blown out into travel lanes is dangerous, damaging, and in some cases, deadly.
Five people died in Washington in 2022 as a result of drivers not securing their loads before hitting the road. State officials say every year, unsecured loads cause more than 300 crashes and 30 injuries in the state.
"The plywood going through your window inches from your face—that has happened in Washington," said Caitlin Newman, program supervisor for Kitsap County’s Clean Kitsap Program.
"Something flying out and hitting a car and causing a wreck and taking out an entire vehicle," said Daniel Janssen, while dumping debris at a Kitsap County sanitation facility.
Kitsap County launched a new campaign, Secure Your Load for Safer Roads, to raise awareness and help increase safety.
"It can save a life, prevent injuries, unnecessary crashes on our roadways," said Newman.
Patrick Terryll made five trips to a county sanitation facility on Friday. During each visit, Terryll said he made sure his haul was locked down.
"So it don’t blow out. Especially a mattress— you see them driving down the road flapping in the wind. So, you’ve got to make sure it’s down and don’t want to hit somebody behind you," said Terryll.
The campaign is also an effort to reduce litter and protect the environment.
"Up to 40 percent of the trash you see on the side of the roads comes from unsecured vehicle loads. And we think that’s totally preventable. Our community hates litter; I get so many calls and e-mails about it," said Newman.
"We live in a beautiful state. It takes a lot of volunteers to clean up the roads. That’s a big thing for me, no trash on the side of the road," said Janssen.
Washington State Department of Ecology and Washington State Department of Transportation said 26 million pounds of debris is found on the side of the roads each year. Officials said it can cost the agencies about $12 million dollars annually to clean up.
Leaders with Kitsap County said reducing the litter has a simple solution.
"Cargo straps, cargo nets, tarps, ropes, chains. Depending on what you’re hauling you might have to get a different tool so that it’s secured," said Newman.
"I’m just thinking everybody should be doing what I’m doing here. Strapping it down," said Terryll.
Anyone caught with an unsecured load could get a fine of about $240 dollars. If it causes an injury or property damage, the driver could face jail time and a fine of up to $5,000.