SACRAMENTO — Caltrans urges motorists and commercial vehicle operators to make sure their loads are secure before driving, because transporting unsecured loads is unsafe, illegal and pollutes California’s roads and waterways.
Vehicle-related debris can create unsafe conditions for motorists, contributes to litter on highways and could lead to pollution in waterways.
“This is a safety, environmental, economic, and aesthetic issue that is 100 percent preventable,” Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty said. “We spent more than $67 million last year picking up litter and debris. By properly securing your load before you head out, you can help keep our roads clean and safe, and also protect our waterways from being contaminated.”
A load is secure when nothing can slide, shift, fall or shift off a vehicle onto the roadway.
Here are some tips on properly securing a load:
· Tie it down. Large or heavy items should be secured with solid straps, rope, bungee cords, or netting. Make sure your tie down materials are appropriate for the weight they are securing and can withstand highway speeds.
· Cover it up. For loose items like grass or tree clippings, a tarp or netting can be used to keep items in place.
· Don’t dispose of litter in pickup beds. Litter in pickup beds can fly out when the vehicle reaches highway speed. Dispose of litter properly.
· Re-check your load. Loads can shift and settle during a trip. If safe to do so, re-check your load during your trip. Tighten straps that may have loosened and adjust your load if necessary.
According to California vehicle code 23115 (a): “No vehicle transporting garbage, swill, used cans or bottles, wastepapers, waste cardboard, ashes, refuse, trash, or rubbish, or any noisome, nauseous, or offensive matter, or anything being transported for disposal or recycling shall be driven or moved upon any highway unless the load is totally covered in a manner that will prevent the load or any part of the load from spilling or falling from the vehicle.”
On a related note, Caltrans notes that litter and debris can clog stormwater drains and may end up in waterways. Caltrans’ Protect Every Drop campaign educates Californians about the sources and pathways of stormwater pollution, and to change behaviors of the public to reduce stormwater pollution in and around the state highway system. Search #ProtectEveryDrop on Twitter or go to www.protecteverydrop.com for more information.
Photos: Courtesy Caltrans.