10/21/2014

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Flying rocks & cracked windshields

Flying rocks & cracked windshields
YAKIMA, Wash. -- It can be an expensive and annoying problem.

Rocks and other debris flying off of big rigs that damage your windshield.

KIMA heard your concerns about trucks carrying uncovered loads.
We learned what authorities are doing to crack down on it.

"A truck passed by and a rock hit my window and it went down like the whole half side, it was bad," said Jerwin Garcia.

It's accidents like these that keep places like McKinney's Auto Glass busy year around.

The owner tells KIMA they repair about 200 windshields a month.

That's way more than the work they get repairing side windows broken by a thief.

"Sometimes it's a truck going in the opposite way, sometimes it's a truck they're behind, you know, other times it's not necessarily a truck at all, it can just be a small car," said Mike McKinney, from McKinney's Auto Glass.

State law says loads in trucks can't be piled over the top of the vehicle. Trucks carrying gravel or dirt need to have a six-inch board on all sides of the trailer. However, there is no law that says loads must be covered.

Troopers say the biggest problem is not actually from debris flying out the top of a truck, but rather rocks that may have fallen onto a fender and fly out while driving.

I pulled the numbers and found that the number of citations given for loose debris escaping has actually gone down.

In 2011, 279 citations were given out.
In 2012, just 170.
Through August of this year, 130 tickets have been given out.
That's pacing to come in around 200 for the total year.

The citations include loads from both commercial and private trucks.

Troopers say it's the driver's responsibility to secure a load correctly, or risk hurting someone or damaging another car.

"The crack had spread over the entire windshield, like it went from one end to the other and down and up and everywhere, and it was the fastest spreading crack I've ever seen in a windshield," said Mikaylla Stephens.

Troopers say it can sometimes be more dangerous to cover a load.
The wind can actually make rocks fly out more when there's a cover.
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