Crazy! It’s Illegal To Carry This In Your Truck Bed In Washington State
Chances are if you live in Washington State, someone you live next to has a truck. Heck, almost everyone I know owns a truck except for me.
I was just asking my neighbor if we could use his truck to unload some stuff at the dump that has been in my backyard forever. After making some comment about how "he's been lookin' at that stuff long enough", he started explaining what we would have to do to secure the load to be safe. Turns out, not just "what you carry" but "how you carry it" is a big deal in Washington State.
Looking at the Washington State code for answers to this question, I found this.
WASHINGTON STATE CODE
- "Washington state law RCW 46.61.655external link requires every vehicle driven or moved on any public road to be constructed or loaded in a way that secures the load and any covering used.
- Washington State law RCW 70A.200.120external link requires those transporting waste to a transfer station or landfill to secure or cover the vehicle’s load to prevent any part of the load escaping from the vehicle.
- If your driving near Seattle, King County Code Chapter 10.12.040external link requires a fee to be charged to drivers of vehicles with unsecured loads arriving at any transfer facility or landfill. The unsecured load fee at King County facilities is $25."
WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF AN UNSECURED LOAD?
Personally, I have seen a lot of "questionable" securing of loads on Tri-Cities roads. If you look at Washington State law, it says:
"An unsecured load has not been fastened in or attached to the vehicle with tarps, rope, straps, netting, or chains, so as to prevent any part of the load or covering used from becoming loose, detached, or leaving the vehicle while the vehicle is moving."
"Washington State law, RCW 46.61.655external link requires every vehicle driven or moved on any public road to be constructed or loaded in a way that secures the load and any covering used."
Basically, if there is any chance what you are moving is going to leak or fall out, you need to do a better job. There are also laws about how far something you are moving can hang off the back of your truck bed.
"(1) The load, or any portion of any vehicle, operated alone upon the public highway of this state, or the load, or any portion of the front vehicle of a combination of vehicles, shall not extend more than three feet beyond the front wheels of such vehicle, or the front bumper, if equipped with front bumper.
TIPS FOR SECURING YOUR LOAD
If you are trying to secure your load, it can be difficult. They give great tips on this Washington State County website to help.
- "Tie down using rope, netting, straps, or chains. Securely fasten large items directly to your vehicle. Make sure that any covering is securely tied down.
- Put lighter items lower and place heavier items on top to help keep them in place and secure the heavy items directly to your vehicle.
- Cover your load with a tarp. Covering your load with a tarp and then securely fastening the tarp to the vehicle is good way to ensure that your load is secure.
- Don’t overload your vehicle.
- Double-check that your load is secure."
EQUIPMENT FOR SECURING LOADS
There are a lot of options for securing your loads, but it really depends on what you are trying to tie down. Examples they give on the Washington State website are:
REASONS WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO SECURE YOUR LOADS
- According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2019 there were 739 deaths, 17,367 injuries and 89,915 property damage crashes caused by unsecured loads and road debris.
- According to the Washington State Department of Ecologyexternal link , unsecured loads cause over 300 crashes in Washington every year.
- A study by the AAA Foundation for Safety found that nationwide, 40% of road debris comes from unsecured loads.
A mother of a girl injured by debris in Washington State from a moving vehicle started a great website to help educate people about the dangers of unsecured loads. The website is called secureyourload.com, and is full of useful information to help keep your loads as safe as possible. There are also links to other state laws about the same subject in case you are traveling.