Secure your cargo

by Trinity Gruenberg

An unsecured load can cause accidents. Photo was taken in Todd County by a concerned citizen.

In May of 2018, a semi tractor and trailer struck a mattress that had fallen off the roof of a car and onto the freeway. The mattress became entangled in the rear tires of the trailer and started on fire, destroying the semi, trailer and the cargo. It also started two grass fires.

In July 2018, a Minnesota landscape contractor was charged with four counts of vehicular homicide after an unsecured boulder weighing 1100 pounds tumbled from his dump truck and rolled over an oncoming car, killing two women.

In March 2019, a semi truck driver died after he braked, causing his load of steel beams to shift into the cab, killing him.

According to a 2016 study by the AAA Foundation for Safety, road debris caused more than 200,000 crashes in the past four years, resulting in approximately 39,000 injuries and 500 deaths between 2011 and 2014. The U.S. spends up to $11.5 billion on litter, and it is estimated that 20 to 40 percent of that litter is from unsecured loads.

“People always try to justify it and rationalize it saying ‘it’s just a short trip.’ I’ve seen a short trip be anywhere from five miles to 30 plus miles,” said Sgt. Jesse Grabow of the Minnesota State patrol. “They’re in a hurry. They put their schedule ahead of a few extra minutes to do the right thing.”

People won’t get hurt or killed if items are properly secured.

Minnesota Statute 169.81 Subdivision Five states: A vehicle must not be driven or moved on any highway unless the vehicle is so constructed, loaded, or the load securely covered as to prevent any of its load from dropping, sifting, leaking, blowing, or otherwise escaping. There are some exceptions to this, such as farmers transporting small grain. A violation could result in a petty misdemeanor.

“It could be gravel sifting off a dump truck, and even snow and ice coming off your vehicle,” explained Grabow. . . .

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