Secure Your Load: It’s the Law

We’ve all seen it: a box falling out of the back of a truck causing you to hit the brakes. A mattress tied to the roof of a car so precariously you slow down or switch lanes. Most of the time those are just scares, but some people aren’t so lucky.

It might seem like common sense to tie down and secure items that you’re transporting in your truck. If you don’t, there’s a chance an item could fall off and injure someone on the road behind you. But some motorists take the risk:

SILVERDALE, Wash. — A motorcyclist was seriously injured Friday when unsecured plywood fell off a truck and into the path of the motorcycle, causing it to crash on State Route 3 at Newberry Hill Road, the Washington State Patrol said.

Enter Maria’s Law. Signed into law in 2005, this piece of legislation means drivers in Washington face possible jail time if their unsecure load seriously injures someone. The driver who failed to secure his load is responsible for the injuries the motorcyclist incurred.

It also appears that the driver in question was doing work at the time of the accident. Commercial policies typically have limits of at least $1,000,000.

State authorities also say that drugs or alcohol were a contributing factor.

The injured motorcyclist has claims against the driver, his commercial policy, and (if the driver had been drinking at a bar or restaurant) the establishment that overserved him.

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