PHOENIX (May 26, 2018)—A one-second decision can last a lifetime for someone else. When you decide to hit the road without securing your load, that debris can result in serious or even deadly crashes.

To help Don’t Trash Arizona raise awareness about the potential dangers of loose debris and unsecured loads, Governor Doug Ducey has proclaimed June 6, 2018 as Arizona Secure Your Load Day. The proclamation comes at the request of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), the Department of Public Safety (DPS), the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG, which oversees Don’t Trash Arizona) and the families of loved ones killed or injured by dangerous debris.

Secure Your Load Day 2018

Debris on freeways causes 51,000 accidents in the U.S. every year, injuring nearly 10,000. Most states across the nation will recognize Secure Your Load day in some form on June 6, thanks to the national efforts of victims like Arizona resident Paul Reif, Washington resident Robin Abel, and Alaska resident Kelly Roy—all of whom suffered losses due to unsecured loads. In fact, the June 6 date was selected in memory of Reif’s son, Matthew, an Arizonan killed after a piece of loose metal bounced off the pavement and impaled the windshield of the car he was driving on June 6, 2006.

Buckeye Mayor and MAG Chair Jackie Meck says it is up to drivers to keep the roads safe. “Our message is that drivers should secure their load as if someone they love is traveling behind them, because someone’s loved one is,” says Meck.

Alberto Gutier, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, notes the importance of double-checking large loads before hitting the road. “Loose debris often is the result of a mere oversight by a well-intentioned driver. Spending a little extra time ensuring a load is properly secured with effective tie-down methods improves the beauty of our Valley highways and can save lives.”

Colonel Frank Milstead, director of the Department of Public Safety states, “We have seen first-hand the devastating effects of debris-related collisions. Every driver in this state plays a role in highway safety and we urge you to make sure your loads are completely secure before hitting the road.”

John Halikowski, director of the Arizona Department of Transportation, says drivers can directly impact the safety of others by securing loads. “Whether you’re hauling yard waste or moving furniture across town, securing items safely in your vehicle is your responsibility. Securing items makes the roads safer for other drivers, and keeps out of harm’s way the responders that are called on to remove debris from highway travel lanes.”

Nationally, an estimated $11.5 billion is spent on litter clean up each year. Locally, Arizona taxpayers spend about $4 million annually to keep Valley highways free of litter.

Officials with the Department of Public Safety are available for interviews. Kelly Ann Roy, who underwent months of rehabilitation following an unsecured load accident, also is available for interview via Skype or phone. Photos of her accident and rehabilitation are available on request. Photos of debris removed or on Valley highways are also available on request. ADOT will post the message “SECURE YOUR LOAD, SAVE LIVES, IT’S UP TO YOU” on more than 100 electronic message boards throughout Arizona on June 6.

Don’t Trash Arizona has long encouraged motorists to secure their loads properly by using tarps, bungee cords or other tie-downs. The goal of the program is to address the environmental, economic, health and safety impacts of roadway litter, which includes the potential hazards related to unsecure loads.

The Dangers of Not Securing Your Load

Photos of debris found on freeways.

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