Unsecured loads

Posted by Scott A. Staples | Oct 03, 2017 | 0 Comments

On August 19, 2017, The Columbian published an article entitled “Falling Wood Injures Biker.” It reported a motorcyclist was hit by a large piece of wood that fell from an unsecured load two miles north of Battle Ground. The driver of the flatbed truck that lost the wood was charged with first degree failure to secure his load.

Securing your load is more than just a good practice; it's actually a crime if some or all of your load falls onto the roadway.

According to RCW 46.61.655, any vehicle being driven on a public highway needs to be loaded so as to prevent any of its load from dropping, shifting, leaking or in any way escaping from either the bed of the truck, the top of the car, or any trailer that it is towing.

The RCW, provides that:

  • You will get a traffic infraction if you lose your load and get caught.
  • If you lose your load and it damages someone else's vehicle or property, you will be charged with a misdemeanor.
  • If your unsecured load injures someone, you will be charged with a gross misdemeanor.

There are real world consequences associated with unsecured loads. The statutes are in place for a reason, and with so many people on the roads making any number of trips while moving homes, picking up furniture, or transporting items to the dump, it's especially important to be careful and make sure that your load is fastened down each and every time. Make sure that when checking your load before your trip, account for the fact that there will be a lot of wind and items will shift around while driving. It is good practice to check your load mid-trip to make sure it is still secure.

If you want to read further into this topic, or need some advice about it, King County’s website has a helpful FAQ section on securing loads.

About the Author

Scott A. Staples

Scott Staples came on board in 2006 as a clerk during law school, and joined the firm as an associate attorney in 2007. He was made a shareholder in the firm in 2010. Scott graduated, cum laude, from Washington State University Vancouver with a BA in English, and obtained his Juris Doctorate from Willamette University College of Law, with cum laude honors there as well. He has successfully represented clients in a variety of different types of injury cases, including auto collisions, premises liability, animal attacks, watercraft accidents, and construction site injuries. He has appeared, and won, before the Washington State Supreme Court (Weismann v. Safeco, 2012). Scott has volunteered time for the past several years at the Clark County Volunteer Lawyers Housing Justice Project. He has previously served on the new member and membership committees for the Washington State Association for Justice (WSAJ), and has acted as chair and co-chair of the WSAJ Clark County Roundtable. He is a member of the Washington and Oregon State Bar Associations, WSAJ and OTLA (state trial lawyer organizations), and is admitted to practice in all state and federal courts in Washington and Oregon. Scott was born and raised in Vancouver, attending Vancouver public schools and graduating from Hudson's Bay High School. He enjoys playing recreational basketball and softball, skiing, and spending time with his wife and three children.


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