In another Seattle accident involving an unsecured load, a 10-gallon bucket flew off of a vehicle and landed in a lane on the floating bridge. When a car swerved to miss the bucket, it crashed, causing a chain reaction accident as vehicle behind the car were not able to avoid the wreck. Six people were injured in the crash. In 2009, a steel ramp fell off of a tractor-trailer on I-5 in Washington State causing extensive property damage to a number of vehicles, including a car fire. Just days before, on the very same road, a 14-inch pipe fell off a truck and crashed through the windshield of a man driving behind the big rig. The driver was within inches of serious injury.
In the past, the penalty for not properly tying down a load in Washington State was nothing more than a $250 ticket. However, in the wake of Federici’s accident and injury, a law was passed so that if someone causes an injury or death because of an improperly secured load, they could face a $5,000 fine, a year in prison, and a gross misdemeanor on their permanent record. A driver whose improperly secured load causes property damage may also be charged with a misdemeanor.
What can you do to prevent accidents caused by unsecured loads? Always properly tie down anything you are carrying on your car or in your truck or trailer. If you see debris on the road that could cause an accident, call 911 to report the danger.