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Man remembers son killed by road debris, warns drivers of unsecured loads

Posted at 6:59 PM, Apr 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-07 00:46:50-04

The father of a man killed by road debris is reminding drivers the dangers of unsecured loads.

"You never get it back," said Paul Reif, referring to time with his son Matthew. "He was just an innocent person minding his own business driving along the road." 
On June 6, 2006, Matthew Reif lost his life in an accident involving road debris.
"A piece of metal either fell off a truck or got kicked up off the road, went through his windshield and severed the main artery in his heart," said Reif.
Every year there are 1000 debris related crashes throughout the state. On average, 13 people are killed and 22 seriously injured. After 11 years of pleading with the public to make a change, Reif still sees the same deadly habits.
"I get very angry and I get very upset, there have been times where I've had to pull off the road and compose myself," said Reif.
Reports show that 16 percent of the 700 thousand pounds of trash removed from state roadways come from unsecured loads.

Not only putting drivers at risk but also DPS officers who remove the debris.

Here are five things to keep in mind: 

  • Tie it down
    • Secure large or heavy items with solid straps, rope or bungee cords.
  • Cover it up
    • Loose items should be firmly covered with a tarp or netting
  • Lighter goes lower
    • put lighter items below heavier items
  • Don't overload
    • Keep material level with the truck bed or trailer unless tied down.
  • Double check
    • Ask yourself is this roadworthy

Rief says his son is gone, but his memory lives with every life his message saves.
"Secure your load as if everyone you love is driving behind you," said Reif. 

DPS says if you see debris on any freeway, it is considered an emergency and encourage you to call or text 911 immediately.

The legislature is working on a proclamation that would declare June 6 "secure your load day" across the state in memory of Matthew Reif.  

To learn more about how to secure your load, click here.