A junk bolt as dangerous as a bullet
A brass junk bolt ended the life of a man driving through highway 101 in Palo Alto Ca.
On September 16th my driver called me to inform me they were running behind schedule due to severe traffic. A quick search on twitter and I discovered the sad news. A man was struck by a piece of debris on highway 101 causing him to lose control and smash into the center divide. The story hit close to home. I always reiterate proper tarping of our Eco-Dumpster bins for this exact reason.
According to the California Highway Patrol a piece of bolt ended the life of the elderly motorist. The piece of brass was said to be 2 to 3 inches in diameter and estimated by the officers to weigh “a couple of pounds”. The piece of trash became a dangerous projectile when it smashed into the windshield like a shotgun slug.
How this could have been prevented?
What really blew my mind is how easily this “freak accident” could have been prevented. As a child I always grew up with my father reiterating how a few minutes of extra effort and prevention could save lives. My father worked for a tree company that contracted with PG&E to clear power lines. In other words, a highly treacherous job (especially during storms). Still, in 20 years at the job I never saw the old man injure himself. He credited his safety record to always being meticulous with the “small details”. I am not going to mince names but I regularly see small pickup trucks hauling scrap metal untarped.
How can stuff fly off if it’s so heavy?
I have actually had people ask me this. My response? Airplanes are heavy. In our time doing business I have literally seen watermelon sized pieces of concrete bounce up and off a 10 wheel dump truck on highway 101. I have also been peppered by debris from other trucks. Both incidents made me swerve and sent a chill down my spine.
The solution to this problem is to have all trucks tarp their load MANUALLY. The current California State Vehicle Code requires loads be properly covered, section 23115(a) yet we regularly see a lot of homeowners and pick up trucks hauling scrap and other debris either uncovered or just tied down with rope.
What not to do
- Only use rope if you have small pieces of junk or scrap.
- Use blue tarps on the freeway (I can almost guarantee they will shred.
- Go without a tarp
Manual Tarps, the solution to runaway junk and scrap
The solution for us is to manually cover all our loads with windproof tarps. Why windproof? The conventional “blue” tarps you buy at the hardware store will literally rip right off your truck as the material is too weak to resist high winds over the highway. The grommets are also of inferior quality. The brown and gray tarps aren’t much better.
The best type of tarp to cover your load is made of mesh and is windproof.
A few minutes can save lives
A few minutes can definitely save the lives. Whoever dropped that bolt could have prevented a fatal accident. By taking time and being considerate of others on the road we can prevent fatal accidents and damage to the personal property of others. At one point of another we all transport things over the freeway. Let us do it safely I hope you share this article with friends in order to prevent fatalities and injuries.