Throwing cargo in the back of a pickup truck and hitting the road without securing it is never a good idea. You are just asking for something to fly off the back and into the road. That is what happened recently to a driver in Maine. His bad day was made worse when the cargo falling off his truck hit a police cruiser following behind.
Hitting a police cruiser with falling cargo is no different than being caught speeding by an officer equipped with a radar gun. You are caught red-handed. There is no contesting it in court. The best you can do is hope that leniency will be the order of the day.
A Flying Roll of Insulation
The Maine incident happened on I-295 in the town of Topsham. Fortunately, it was a minor incident. A state police sergeant and just gotten onto I-295 and pulled in behind a pickup truck loaded with building materials. As the truck sped off, the role of insulation fell up the back and into the roadway. Despite his efforts to avoid it, the officer struck the insulation. It got stuck underneath his car.
It is fortune that the incident did not have more serious consequences. Things could have been worse. Imagine if that role of insulation had been a 2 x 4 instead. A large piece of wood could have bounced off the road and ended up flying right through the police cruiser’s windshield.
No injuries or serious car damage was reported. However, the truck’s driver was cited for carrying unsecured cargo. Now he’ll have to pay a fine, at the very least. He might have to appear before a court as well.
Securing Cargo Is the Law
It is highly unlikely the truck driver will be able to talk his way out of this one. Securing cargo before driving on public roads is a matter of the law – not only in Maine, but also every other state in the union.
Whether it’s a pickup truck with construction materials, a utility trailer owned by a lawn maintenance company, or two friends who just purchased a mattress at the furniture store, the law says cargo being transported outside the confines of a closed vehicle needs to be secured so as to prevent it from falling off.
That means even a load of gravel or sand needs to be secured. How would you do that? With a tarp and either some bungee cords or ropes. As for construction materials in the back of a pickup, a couple of well-placed cam straps would keep everything in place.
More About Cam Straps
Since I brought it up, cam straps are webbing material straps with cam buckles on one end. A cam buckle has an opening through which you thread the strap. A clamping mechanism holds the strap in place once you pull it tight. According to the tie down experts behind Rollercam, cam straps are similar to ratchet straps with the exception of not requiring a ratchet to pull them tight.
Cam straps would have been the best choice for the pickup truck in Maine. They work better than ropes, are easier to deploy, and can stand up to just about anything the environment throws at them. As for how they compared to bungee cords, the two types of tiedowns are not even in the same league.
If you plan to carry cargo in your pickup, on a trailer, or on the roof of your car, don’t be like the Maine truck driver whose insulation struck a police cruiser. Be smart. Tie your stuff down.