As people work on spring cleaning, the Washington State Patrol wants drivers to remember the importance of properly securing loads carried by their vehicles.
State law states, "No vehicle shall be driven or moved on any public highway unless such vehicle is so constructed or loaded as to prevent any of its load from dropping, sifting, leaking or otherwise escaping therefrom."
"Maria's Law," named for Maria Federici, who was severely injured while driving by an entertainment center that fell off an open trailer, makes it a crime to fail to secure a load that results in bodily injury.
Conviction could bring up to one year in jail and $5,000 in fines.
To lower the risk, drivers should:
_ Secure loads and recheck while driving
_ Increase following distance behind a vehicle if its load doesn't appear secure
_ Be attentive to what options there are in case there is a loss of a load
_ Be prepared to move into a different lane or drive over small debris rather than swerve to avoid it
If you have witnessed or have been a victim of a loss of load, you should call 9-1-1 or the Washington State Patrol and provide the following information:
_ The location where you last saw the loaded vehicle
_ Direction it was traveling
_ What road or highway
_ Color(s) of the truck or trailer
_ License plate number
_ Truck company's name
_ What happened
If you witness or been a victim of a loss load, you can report on the WSP Web site by providing detailed information on where the incident happened. The WSP focuses enforcement in areas where loss of loads is occurring.
For more information visit www.wsp.wa.gov/traveler/cvd.htm#loadloss2.
The Sequim Gazette is located at 147 W. Washington Street in Sequim.
Business hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Phone 360-683-3311, or toll free at 800-829-5810. FAX 360-683-6670.
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