June 3, 2022 - Louisiana Highway Safety Commission Executive Director, Lisa Freeman, is happy to report some good news on the traffic safety front: The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed November, 2021 recognized an important highway safety mission: “to prevent crashes, injuries and deaths caused by unsecured vehicle loads.”
In addition to federal funding, recent national data for 2020 released by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) for crashes caused by unsecured loads and road debris show that there were 715 deaths, 16,595 injuries and 82,479 property damage crashes. Fortunately, the numbers in all categories have gone down compared to the 2019 data, as a result of more and more public awareness on this topic.
Robin Abel, a Seattle, Washington resident, and Paul Reif, an Arizona resident, have committed themselves to fight this senseless and avoidable danger after Abel’s daughter was catastrophically injured and Reif’s son Matthew was killed by an unsecured load on June 6th. Bonded by grief, Abel and Reif have supported and encouraged each other in an effort to save other families from these preventable incidents and unnecessary pain. Such efforts are bearing much success and most states, along with Louisiana, are participating in outreach for Secure Your Load Day. That fact, combined with the recent Congressional dedication of funding for education and enforcement, along with the fact of reduced numbers in fatality and serious injury statistics are signs that improvement is possible and we should continue to make that our goal.
“It’s a common-sense road practice to secure loose items in our vehicles, no different from buckling our seatbelts and making sure our children are properly restrained in car seats,” Freeman said. She recognizes that this positive trend can only continue if certain safety measures are followed on our roadways:
1. Tie down loads 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. Always double check load to make sure a load is secure.