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Securing safety one load at a time

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At one time or another, most drivers have been stuck in traffic behind a pickup truck carrying a load that isn’t tied down or secured in any way. Being in this situation doesn’t feel safe, and it isn’t. Improperly secured, or unsecured, objects in the back or on top of a vehicle can cause accidents, injuries and even death. Safety is the top priority of the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT), which is why MDOT recognizes June 6 as “Secure Your Load Day.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), each year, about 730 people are killed and 17,000 more are injured because of objects on the road. The great majority of these accidents involve unsecured loads on passenger vehicles. In addition to safety hazards, debris from unsecured loads contributes to roadside litter which costs Mississippi more than $3 million per year to remove.

“Just as you protect yourself by buckling your seatbelt, protect others on the road by ensuring that everything in the back of your truck is sufficiently tied or weighted down,” said Brad White, MDOT Executive Director. “By simply taking a little extra time to secure your load, you can keep others safe, reduce roadside litter and avoid legal consequences.”

Motorists responsible for debris from unsecured loads could face fines up to $500 and up to six months in prison.

MDOT offers the following tips to safeguard your load:

  • Tie down the load with rope, netting or straps.
  • Tie large objects directly to the vehicle or trailer.
  • Cover the entire load with a sturdy tarp.
  • Don’t overload the vehicle.
  • Always double check the load to make sure it is secure.
  • Use safety chains when hauling trailers.

    “Secure Your Load Day” is part of a nationwide effort of the Governors Highway Safety Association to raise awareness about the dangers of debris falling from vehicles. It was spearheaded by Robin Abel whose daughter was blinded by a piece of particle board that flew from the back of a moving trailer on Interstate 405 in Seattle, Wash.

    To learn more about travel safety, visit GoMDOT.com/DriveSmartMS, download the MDOT Traffic mobile app and follow @MississippiDOT on Facebook and X, formerly Twitter.