TUCSON, AZ — Odd items are piled on top of one another at a maintenance yard in Tucson. All were pulled from some of the busiest stretches of highway in Southern Arizona.
"When they come across something in the road, they'll try to get it out of there as quickly and as safely as they can," said Ryan Harding with the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT).
ADOT's South Central District maintenance staff recently collected 11,000 pounds of trash in an 11-mile stretch of I-10. The area covers Rita Road to Kino Boulevard and is a hot spot for dumping.
"You have things like ladders, large debris items like furniture and appliances. That poses a real safety hazard to the traveling public," said Harding.
In 2019 and 2020, ADOT reported around 4,500 crashes involving debris across the state. Ten of those crashes were fatal.
"It is a safety issue. It is very important that you secure your loads in your truck," said Harding.
Harding said taking the extra time to securely tie down items you are hauling could save a life.
"Make sure it's not going to move. Ask yourself some good questions like, 'would I want to drive behind my vehicle with this load?' or 'what's going to happen to my load if something darts out in front of me and I have to jam on my brakes quickly?,'" said Harding.
"It is against state law. It is a Class 2 Misdemeanor and you can face up to over $1,000 if you're caught with that unsafe, unsecured load," said Harding.