Highway Safety: Federal and State Efforts Related to Accidents That Involve Non-Commercial Vehicles Carrying Unsecured Loads Page: 5 of 38

GAO
Accountability * Integrity * Reliability
United States Government Accountability Office
Washington, DC 20548
November 15, 2012
The Honorable Patty Murray
Chairman
The Honorable Susan Collins
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing
and Urban Development and Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate
The Honorable Tom Latham
Chairman
The Honorable John Olver
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing
and Urban Development and Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
House of Representatives
Non-commercial vehicles' carrying objects that are not properly secured
pose a safety risk on our nation's roadways. Debris from a vehicle's
unsecured load can collide with other vehicles, or pedestrians alongside
roads, causing serious injuries or fatalities. In addition, this type of debris
can be a hazard on the road that can result in a crash as drivers swerve
to avoid it. Over the last 10 years, several serious crashes involving non-
commercial vehicles carrying unsecured loads2 have highlighted the
safety risks associated with this practice. For example, in February 2004,
a driver in Renton, Washington, was critically injured when an
SFor the purposes of our analysis, non-commercial vehicles include passenger vehicles
(cars or light trucks) used for non-commercial purposes. Light trucks are trucks of 10,000
pounds gross vehicle-weight rating or less, including pickups, vans, truck-based station
wagons, and utility vehicles.
2The definition of an unsecured load varies across states but generally includes cargo in
transit that is not properly restrained, tied down, or secured with tarps, nets, or ropes to
reasonably prevent a portion from falling off. Cargo can include personal property or
objects on the vehicle or attached to a trailer. Open trailers can be obtained from personal
or commercial sources, such as U-Haul. For the purposes of this report, "unsecured load"
includes cargo that is either not secured or improperly secured.

GAO-13-24 Unsecured Loads

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Highway Safety: Federal and State Efforts Related to Accidents That Involve Non-Commercial Vehicles Carrying Unsecured Loads, report, November 15, 2012; Washington D.C.. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc300082/m1/5/ocr/: accessed May 21, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.

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