Secure load emphasis patrols happening across state

Starting Monday, extra patrols will be on the road looking for anyone who fails to securely tie down their cargo.

The Washington State Patrol’s secure load patrols will run 28 days with the aim increasing highway safety and preventing roadside litter.

Troopers will be looking for violators across the state.

Failure to secure a load could result in a $228 citation, but if an unsecured load falls off a vehicle and hurts someone, the driver responsible could be sentenced to up to a year in jail.

“Unsecured vehicle loads are no accident. They are dangerous, sometimes deadly. All drivers have a responsibility to make sure their loads are properly secured at all times,” said Lieutenant Mark Tegard of the Washington State Patrol.

The patrols are happening in conjunction with the Department of Ecology.

“Because litter is completely preventable we also need the public’s help in keeping our state clean. Properly covering and tying down loads, for example, greatly reduces the amount of litter along roadways,” said Pasco Bakotich, WSDOT’s Director of Maintenance Operations.

Fines for littering run from $50 to $5,000, with the largest fines for “lit debris” -- primarily cigarettes -- and for large items that can cause crashes.

WSP says a vehicle’s load is secure when no cargo can slide, shift or fall onto the road or become airborne.

WSP offered the following five tips to secure a load:

  • Tie down load with rope, netting or straps
  • Tie large objects directly to the vehicle or trailer
  • Cover the entire load with a sturdy tarp or netting
  • Don't overload the vehicle
  • Always double check load to make sure all is secure