Monday, September 21, 2015

Better prevention needed for Interstate hauling and hazards

         I-15 in Layton. Any loose items that fall on the freeway can become dangerous and
         even deadly barriers for drivers, who are traveling at speeds of 65 mph or more.

THERE needs to be a better effort by the Utah Highway Patrol (and perhaps stricter laws enacted by the Utah State Legislature) to help prevent items from falling off vehicles -- mainly pickup trucks -- as they travel the Interstates.
This means not only better education for drivers and of the consequences of not properly securing loads -- but also of pulling any drivers over if it even only appears that loads may not be properly secured.
I think LESS speeding enforcement is needed and MORE inspection of suspect loads is the ideal.
PERHAPS a future Utah Highway Patrol ad campaign could address securing loads properly.

-I've also got to wonder if faster legals speeds on Utah Interstates aren't also somewhat to blame. That's because higher speeds equal higher winds blowing in the back of truck beds. Thus, items that may not have blown out before, do now.

-Here are 4 examples I or my extended family has had with Interstate debris:

1. Sept. 20, 2015: One of my sons is driving home to Syracuse from Provo, Utah and hits a bucket in southern Salt Lake County on I-15. The bucket shatters, but it dents the fender and the radiator. Again, why was this item not secured? There was also some fencing on the Interstate and so other vehicles may have hit that. A fence company is likely to blame for these loose items.

 2. Aug. 23, 2015: A person loses a dog house they were hauling on I-15, just north of the Riverdale Road exit, near Ogden. This person does not stop -- just keeps going. As the Highway Patrol stops traffic to clear the obstacle, a car going full speed crashes into a stopped vehicle. Two in that car are killed instantly and others injured. (The man killed was a nephew of one my first cousins.) Again, why was this dog house not properly secured? And, why did the driver not stop, as they had to know they lost it? Of course, the why the driver who did not slow down we may never know ....

3. June 20, 2014: Returning from Idaho/Oregon, I'm driving and hit a plastic bucket at 78 mph on I-84, just across the border into Utah. It was dusk and my vision was also hampered by a semi that remained in the left-hand lane too long, or I might have seen the bucket in advance. Luckily this bucket did no damage, but why did someone have it LOOSE in their truck in the first place, for it to fall out?

4. June 2010: Heading in the Idaho Panhandle toward Canada, my daughter is driving. The pickup ahead of us loses a very large piece of cardboard and my daughter cannot dodge it and lodges under our vehicle. We stop and have to work hard to pull all the cardboard out. This time, at least the pickup stops and apologizes.

--ALL of these incidents could have been prevented if loads and loose items were properly secured BEFORE traveling on the freeway.
So, safety wise, it is not just "buckle up," but also "tie up" any loose items.

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