In response to the public outcry over the Maria Federici case, the Washington legislature increased the penalties for failing to secure a vehicle load and littering. These laws, Chapter 70.93 RCW (Revised Code of Washington) and RCW 46.61.655(1), established minimum fines for littering, illegal dumping, and unsecured loads.
As of July 2005, the fine for transporting an unsecured load is $216. If an item falls off a vehicle and causes property damage or bodily harm, the driver now faces gross misdemeanor charges and penalties of up to $5000 and/or up to a year in prison.
Since 1994, Island County Code has required an unsecured load fee to be charged for vehicles arriving at transfer stations that do not have secured loads.
$3 Cars (with Passenger License Plates)
$5 Trucks with loads up to 1 ton
$10 Trucks with loads more than 1 ton
These fees are in addition to any penalties or fines for unsecured loads by law enforcement officers.
Is there any chance of debris falling or blowing out of my vehicle?
Would I feel safe if I were driving behind my vehicle?
Would I want my loaded vehicle driving through my neighborhood?
What would happen to my load if I had to brake suddenly or if I hit a bump?
Do I need to drive slower than I normally do?
Is my load secured at the back and on the sides AND top?
Did I double-check my load to make sure it is secured?
Tie down your load with rope, bungee cords, netting or straps. Tie large items directly to your vehicle.Don't overload, keep material level with the truck bed or trailer if at all possible. Put lighter weight things at the bottom of the load. Plan your route in advance to avoid bumpy dirt roads, fast moving highways or potholes. Always double-check to make sure your load is secured. Loads can move and settle during transport allowing restraints to loosen, it’s a good idea to stop after a few miles to check if your tarp or tie-downs have loosened.
The Department of Ecology has developed a video as part of their "litter and it will hurt" campaign. The "Securing Your Load" video features real stories (including the Federici story) and examples of how litter can hurt, offers tips on how you can prevent such incidents and highlights recent changes to state law.
Please cover your load to save money and keep Island County clean!
Maps as of Yr 2000--Under Revision