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One person is killed on Arizona roads every nine hours. Between speeding, impairment and a lack of seat-belt usage, so much of the problem seems preventable. ABC15 Arizona is Taking Action to make our roads safer and save lives. Story idea? Call 833-AZROADS or email roads@abc15.com.

Road debris in Arizona causes 1,000 crashes a year

PHOENIX - Arizona Department of Transportation crews and volunteers pick up almost one million pounds of trash along Valley freeways every single year.

The debris they're called to pick up causes close to a thousand collisions annually.

"You're going to run over that ladder, that mattress. You're going to run into a dishwasher," Doug Pacey says. Pacey sees everything that lands in this ADOT maintenance yard.

"It was mangled, it had been run over. It was useless and worthless now but why don't people secure these things?"

FULL SECTION: Operation Safe Roads 

It's an epidemic that spreads from coast to coast. Troopers from California to Connecticut are pleading with the public to "Secure Your Load."

You think tires and trash are something, but that's nothing compared to what ADOT has to clean up from the side of Arizona freeways. Aside from your typical mattresses and couches, there are some truly bizarre finds.

"We've seen all kinds of appliances. We've seen a piano, mattresses, urinals, a slot machine."

So what should you do if you see debris? Pacey says you should call 911 and let DPS know because crash-causing debris is an emergency.

If you're hauling a load? Tie it down. Whatever ropes, cords or straps you use, you'd better make sure it's secure.

Arizona law states that any "dropping, sifting, leaking or...escaping" of stuff from your vehicle can result in fines from $460 to over $1,000.

"If you go buy a mattress, a guy in the driver's seat and passengers seat each with an arm out -- that's not gonna fly."

Most importantly, you should drive like your family is in the car behind you.

Check out www.SecureYourLoad.com for more information. 

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