LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas State Police said Tuesday it is placing “special emphasis” on stopping drivers who are hauling unsecured loads as part of a 42-state campaign called Secure Your Load.
Robin Abel of Seattle created the campaign in 2004 after her daughter was blinded when a piece of furniture fell from a trailer and crashed into her vehicle on an interstate highway.
A 20-pound object that falls from a vehicle and hits another vehicle traveling at 55 mph creates a force of 1,000 pounds at impact, the Arkansas State Police said in a news release.
More than 200,000 crashes in the past four years have been attributed to road debris, according to the release. Crashes related to road debris resulted in about 39,000 injuries and 500 deaths between 2011 and 2014.
Unsecured loads also contribute to litter, which costs American taxpayers $115 billion a year to remove, the agency said.
The Arkansas State Police Highway Patrol Division has issued more than 700 citations and warnings for spilling loads on the highway since 2013.
State police recommend the following five steps before hauling a load:
1. Tie down the load with rope, netting or straps.
2. Tie large objects directly to the vehicle or trailer.
3. Cover the entire load with a sturdy tarp or netting.
4. Don’t overload the vehicle.
5. Double check to make sure the load is secure.