Has a pebble ever hit your windshield? Isn’t it startling how such a tiny object can inflict such immediate and significant damage?
Now imagine instead of a pebble hitting your windshield, it’s a ladder, wheelbarrow, hammer, stack of wood, mattress or a piece of furniture. Now, imagine you and your family are driving behind a car carrying one (or more) of those objects.
On June 6, 2006, Matthew Reif of Arizona was driving home from his job as a heavy equipment operator when an unsecured 10-pound piece of scrap metal from a truck in front of him smashed through the windshield. The 29-year-old was killed on impact. Matthew was full of life, say his parents, Paul and Toby Reif, who add that he “lived to play lacrosse and was a gifted piano player.” In loving memory of Matthew, Secure Your Load, founded by Robin Abel of Seattle Washington, after an unsecured load left her daughter catastrophically injured, is launching its inaugural Secure Your Load Day on June 6, 2016.
Think those are just freak accidents? Think again.
According to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study, there are 51,000 incidents every year, killing 440 and injuring 10,000. What’s worse? In states where unsecured loads are only subject to a meager littering fine, the incidents are much greater.
Speaking of litter: 40 percent of the litter on our roadways comes from unsecured loads and our states spend a combined $11.5 billion (that’s billion with a B) annually on litter clean-up.
Here’s another startling fact: A 20-pound object at 55 MPH has a force of 1000 pounds at impact.
Says Abel: “We put on our seatbelts and fasten our children in car seats so why is it that we think it’s OK to leave anything loose in the bed of our trucks and risk endangering others on the road?”
Driving with an unsecured load is both against the law and extremely dangerous. Thanks to Abel’s dedicated efforts, President Obama and Congress included load-securing recommendations to the states in the Fast Act of December 2015.
On June 6th, in honor of those whose lives have been impacted by unsecured loads and road debris and in an effort to make load-securing a standard practice, Abel urges everyone to share and heed this urgent traffic safety message.
“Secure Your Load as if everyone you love is driving in the car behind you,” Abel adds.
For more information, check out the Secure Your Load PSA.