Sheriff: Make sure loads are secured before driving
I would like to start this article by apologizing for last week’s article. I fear that I may have jinxed the season by writing on the topic of snowmobile safety. It was nice to get the one evening of trail riding in before the closure of the trails and I again want to thank all of the snowmobile clubs who put so much effort into preparing our county trail system. Hopefully, we will not have seen the end of our snow season.
This week, I would like to share information regarding a subject I have never written on before, It is in regards to unsecured loads and the hazards they pose to our area highways.
From 2011 through ’14 it is estimated that nationally there were approximately 51,000 crashes involving 10,000 injuries and 440 known fatalities which were a result of a vehicle striking an object which came off another vehicle or was lying in the roadway.
Locally we have seen the effects of poorly secured loads as well, with many of our violations coming from those who were making trips to our county landfill or transporting items to and from work sites.
Kewaunee County does have an ordinance that covers the failure to secure loads resulting in items being left on the roadway. Ordinance 10.02, “Prohibited Conduct,” which adopts State Statute 287.81(2)(b), states that any person operating a motor vehicle which allows solid waste to be thrown from the vehicle is in violation. It goes on to state that any person who deposits any large item on or along any highway, in any waters of the state, on the ice of any waters of the state, or on any other public or private property shall forfeit not more than $1,000.
With the impending closure of our county landfill this spring I am sure there are many who will use these last few months to clean up around their properties and, because of this, there will likely be increased traffic with these types of loads.
Please take the time to secure the items you are transporting, whether that is garbage going to the landfill or transfer station or any items which end up in the bed of your truck or on your open trailer. Some good items to keep handy are ratchet straps along with extra tarps. It is always a good idea to have a spotter when you are transporting large loads so that they can focus specifically on the load while you maintain your focus on driving.
If you notice while you are transporting items that the load becomes compromised, please stop in a safe place and resecure the load. Many times we see situations where the load was initially secured but, once on the open road, the effects of wind and movement have caused the load to move or the securing straps to shift and loosen.
If you do notice that an item has fallen from your vehicle, it is your duty to stop immediately and retrieve those items. Let’s all work together to keep our roads clean and safe!
Matt Joski is Kewaunee County Sheriff.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Sheriff: Make sure loads are secured before driving