Road debris accidents and highway litter are all too common.  Across North America road litter, either dumped intentionally by motorists or accidental fall-outs from unsecured loads, causes 25,000 accidents every year.  Road debris is responsible for nearly 100 or more fatalities annually.  Road litter poses a serious hazard here in Washington too.  On average, there are 350 accidents involving road debris on state highways each year.  (source: Washington State Department of Transportation)



“No vehicle shall be driven or moved on any public highway unless such vehicle is loaded as to prevent any of its load from dropping, sifting, leaking, or otherwise escaping.” (Source: RCW 36.61.655) State law specifically refers to “unsecured” loads.

Please check with local authorities in your community most have local or county ordinance for compliance that goes beyond state law and requires loads to be covered.



The fine for transporting an unsecured load in $216 if an item falls out of or off your vehicle and causes bodily injury.  Drivers are charged with a gross misdemeanor, which carries a penalty up to $5,000 and may include jail time.  If the item causes property damage, you will be facing a misdemeanor.  The fine for littering something as small as a piece of paper is $103 and go up to $5,000 for bigger items such as mattress or other pieces of furniture.  A lit cigarette fine is $1025 or more if it starts a fire.  Covering and securing your load keeps our state highways clean and money in your pocket.



Thirty percent of the litter-related violations issued by Washington State Patrol in 2007 were for a failure to secure a load and an additional 23% were issued for debris escaping from those loads.  It is estimated that unsecured loads cause up to 60% of roadside litter.  (


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