4/23/2014

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Proponents push for new legislation to keep our roads safe in WA

Proponents push for new legislation to keep our roads safe in WA
YAKIMA, Wash. -- It's more than just an annoying problem. Rocks and loose debris on our roads can be deadly.

"I definitely think trucks should have to cover their loads, because so many times I've had a rock hit my windshield, and then it spreads, and then you just have big cracks and nobody likes that," said Clarissa Alcantra, from Yakima.

Clarissa Alcantara, like many of us, knows the hassle of getting a cracked windshield. But some of us have had much worse experiences.

Ten years ago, a loose piece of furniture flew from a truck and hit a Washington woman's windshield, nearly killing her and leaving her blind. The driver of the truck was only charged with a littering ticket.

Since that time, Maria's mother, Robin Abel, has been pushing for stricter laws regarding covered loads. In 2005 the new law, Maria's law, made it a crime to carry an unsecured load.

"I realized early on after my daughters incident that maybe it was too late to go back in time and fix what happened to her, but I could move forward and do my very best as a parent and citizen to make sure it doesn't happen to others," said Robin Abel.

When the law was first written it gave leeway for certain types of loads.

Current law states that vehicles carrying dirt, sand, or gravel must have at least six inches of free board on all sides of the trailer.

So however high your load is, you have to have at least six inches of board space above that.

Robin Abel is now going back to change that, and require that all loads be covered.

She has met opposition from Yakima Senator, Curtis King, who believes this law will be too costly, and instead our existing laws should be enforced if there is a problem.

"I think we have a lot of good companies coming forward on their own to do the right thing and for that I'm really proud of them, but I would ask some of the hold-ups to analyze why they are holding up, don't you want your family safe on the road too?," said Abel.

Robin Abel says in order for a new law to pass, our state lawmakers need to hear from you who support it.
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