Sooner or later, all of us have to drive on busy freeways. Those who live in small towns find it a little intimidating to drive in heavy traffic, (at least, I do!) But for persons who commute on interstate highways, debris can cause serious accidents, and is a common problem throughout the United States.
California reports that approximately 25,o00 accidents per year are caused by debris. A Los Angeles County deputy sheriff died when he swerved to dodge a stove that had fallen off a truck in front of him. (The driver who didn’t secure the stove has been charged with murder, and may face twenty-five years to life if convicted..) Officials responsible for road clean up in California say that they collect enough junk from their state highways alone to fill up the Los Angeles Coliseum 8′ deep. You can find similar stories from every state in the U.S.
Recycling is becoming big business, and there is more demand for scrap metal, cardboard, and scrap paper. Many persons fill up their pickup beds to the max to haul these and other items to recycling stations. Failing to secure their loads can be costly in some states. California and ten other states are increasing penalties for losing loads on the roadways. Fines may be as much as $5,000 – if the lost debris causes an accident, persons can be jailed up to one year.
Overfilled gravel trucks can also cause accidents. Examples of debris include: rocks, boulders, grease, engine oil, plants and their branches, etc. furniture, mattresses, garbage, nails, screws, glass, auto parts, lumber, tires, construction supplies, and animal corpses. You can probably name other things you’ve seen on busy freeways.
Drivers that are hauling things should inspect their loads before they begin their journey. There are littering laws and penalties that all travelers should follow. If you are hauling something, just be sure it is tied down or secured in a safe manner before you head for your destination.
If you are driving, and see an unsafe load, get the license number of the vehicle and notify authorities. It might help prevent an accident.