The Department of Public Safety joined other state agencies in recognizing National Secure Your Load day June 6. Additionally, Governor Kevin Stitt proclaimed Secure Your Load Week in Oklahoma the week of June 6-12.
"Secure Your Load" is a national campaign to remind and encourage drivers to make sure whatever they're hauling is secure in their vehicle. The Secure Your Load awareness day started in 2004 through the work of Robin Abel, a Washington resident whose daughter was severely injured by an unsecured load.
DPS has partnered with the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Oklahoma Turnpike Authority and "Keep Oklahoma Beautiful" to remind people to secure their load – not only to keep Oklahoma beautiful, but to keep Oklahoma roads safer.
Each year, debris and trash on the roads cause crashes across the state. From 2015-2019, there were nearly 280 crashes in Oklahoma where the contributing factor was listed as failure to secure load and/or debris in the road. Eighteen of those crashes were fatal and 56 resulted in serious injuries.
Each time someone calls *55 or 911 to report debris in the roadway, law enforcement and transportation workers must put themselves in danger to clear the roadway.
In March of 2019, a large boulder fell off a semi truck on US-77 in Garvin County, smashing through the windshield of another vehicle and killing two sisters, ages 83 and 89. Their family says it's a tragedy that could have been prevented.
"If people would realize that if they don't secure their loads, then they have the possibility of just not causing debris to be picked up, but they can actually kill people," said Vicki Kirtley, daughter of one of the victims.
Here are some tips from the OHP Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division for securing your load:
• Secure your load for sudden movement on all three axes (up & down, side to side
• Only use load securement devices in good condition. Chains should not have
cracked, stretched or nicked links. Webbing should not have splices, cuts or holes.
• Follow working load limits on securement devices and when in doubt, always use
extra securement devices.