Secure Your Load Day Established to Help Prevent Injury and Death

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has designated today, June 6, 2016, as Secure Your Load Day.

In 2004, a 40-pound piece of furniture fell off of an open trailer and flew through the windshield of a Jeep Liberty, hitting a young girl, causing catastrophic injuries in the . She was blinded for life. At the time, the driver had not violated any criminal laws by driving with an unsecured load. And when the driver was caught, he could only be charged with littering.

The girl’s mother, Robin Able, fought to make transporting an unsecured load a crime in Washington. Now, “Robin’s Law” makes causing a death or injury by failing to tie down a load a crime accompanied by jail time and fines.

Other states have enacted similar laws, including Minnesota.

“These are violent collisions,” said Lieutenant Tiffani Neilson, of the Minnesota State Patrol. She said that flying debris and objects in the road are a particular hazard to motorcyclists. The primary risks are

  • getting hit by an object that flies out of a pickup bed or off of a trailer;
  • getting hit from behind by another vehicle after stopping because there is debris in the road; and
  • getting hit after exiting a car to remove debris from the road.

Minnesota Secure Load Law

Fred Pritzker
“The number of serious injuries and deaths caused by debris flying through windshields is alarming,” said Attorney Fred Pritzker, who represents accident victims and families with wrongful death claims. Contact Fred for a FREE consultation (click here).

Minnesota’s secure load law is found in Minnesota Statutes 169.81, Subdivision 5:

“No vehicle shall be driven or moved on any highway unless such vehicle is so constructed, loaded, or the load securely covered as to prevent any of its load from dropping, sifting, leaking, blowing, or otherwise escaping therefrom. . . .”

“No vehicle that has a cargo area without a rear wall may be driven or moved on a trunk highway with a load of cut firewood of less than three feet in length unless the rear of the cargo area is covered with a material of sufficient strength to prevent any part of the load from escaping from the rear. No person shall transport firewood in any vehicle in an unsafe manner.”

Drivers hauling unsecured debris who injure or kill someone can be charged with criminal vehicular homicide if there is gross negligence, according to Lt. Neilson. They can also be sued in civil court for personal injury and wrongful death compensation, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, disfigurement, disability and other damages.

Lt. Neilson told reporters there have been 2749 debris calls in the Metro area and 5178 statewide so far this year. The most common objects are ladders and mattresses.

When hauling loads, put them in an enclosed trailer or use tarps with toe straps.

Read: “Can I Sue if Debris Hit My Car and I Was Injured?

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Category: Accidents
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