Tag Archives: litter

Highway Littering and Failing to Secure a Load Amendments

Chair and stuffed gorrilla removed from I-15 in Orem.

UDOT crews removed this chair and stuffed gorilla from I-15 in Orem.

Legislators passed this past March HB 328 S1. This bill increases the fines for littering on a highway and increases the fines for failing to secure a load while operating a vehicle on a highway.  Previously, a person could be fined no less than $100 for littering or not securing a load. This has been increased to no less than $200. The fine for a second or subsequent violation within three years of a previous violation also increased from $250 to $500.

The fine for violators operating a commercial vehicle also increased with this bill. Previously, a person could be fined no less than $250 for littering or not securing a load. This has been increased to no less than $500. A second or subsequent violation also increased from $500 to $1,000.

Under this bill a vehicle may not be operated or moved on any highway unless the vehicle is constructed or loaded to prevent its contents from dropping, sifting, leaking, or otherwise escaping. A vehicle carrying trash or garbage shall have a covering over the entire load. A vehicle carrying dirt, sand, gravel, rock fragments, pebbles, crushed base, aggregate, any other similar material, or scrap metal shall have a covering over the entire load unless:

  • the highest point of the load does not extend above the top of any exterior wall or sideboard of the cargo compartment of the vehicle; and
  • the outer edges of the load are at least six inches below the top inside edges of the exterior walls or sideboards of the cargo compartment of the vehicle.

Unsecured loads are dangerous, not just for drivers but for Utah Highway Patrol Officers who must remove items that have fallen off vehicles. Officers and drivers have been killed from debris on roads and freeways, left by negligent vehicle operators.

Currently, it costs Utah $1.8 million dollars to clear trash from state roadways, money that could spent on maintenance or construction projects. In the coming year signage displaying the new fines for litter will be placed along Utah roadways. Money from fines will be split between the Utah Highway Patrol for litter blitzes, and the Utah Department of Transportation for education and public awareness on the dangers of littering and not securing loads.

FLYING STEEL AND FREEWAYS: NOT A GOOD MIX

A UDOT sponsored press event aimed at reminding motorists to prevent freeway litter featured a story about a flying chunk of steel and a demonstration of the right way to tie down loads.

Litter Hurts: Alema Harrington was hit and injured by flying debris on the freeway. His story is a good reminder to properly tie down loads before transporting on Utah roads.

Wearing a sling from an injury caused by debris on I-15, Utah Jazz Broadcaster Alema Harrington warned motorists about what can happen when loads are not secured properly. “You could be a participant” in an accident that could have tragic consequences.

Harrington knows he could have been killed. On his way to work, he saw an airborne object heading straight for his vehicle. What turned out to be a chunk of steel flew through his windshield, hit his arm and punctured his back seat.

A jagged piece of steel flew through Alema Harrington's windshield.

“You don’t have time to be scared. It’s just one of those things. You just go into survival mode.”

To raise public awareness about freeway litter, Harrington recorded a public service announcement to warn motorists about how debris can cause injury or other incidents. (Scroll down to view the PSA.)

His story shows why motorists need to be very careful to properly secure transported items. UDOT maintenance workers Jake Brown and CJ Connor were on hand to give how-to demonstrations.

Litter is not just soda cans or old newspaper; it's anything that does not belong on Utah's roads. According to UDOT maintenance workers, ladders are an often retrieved item. CJ Connor, left, and Jake Brown demonstrated how to secure a ladder in the bed of a pick-up.

Securing items on a trailer or in a pick-up bed can be done using items commonly available at a home improvement store. For example, wrapping up lawn debris in a tarp can prevent leaves from “flying out like a bunch of confetti,” said Jake.  For a list safety tips for securing items, visit the Litter Hurts website and see “Are You Secure?” at the top.

UDOT provided media with a CD video of  Harrington’s PSA: