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Trash from vehicles on way to landfill spilling onto road

February 03, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

Nearly 20 vehicles were stopped in a two-hour period Saturday by Washington County Sheriff's deputies for not covering "loose material" that could spill onto the road.

Nineteen stops were made for "loose-load" violations, according to a press release. Most drivers were given written warnings for not covering materials they were hauling. Police said $80 fines also are an option.

Most of the violations were from pickup trucks and small utility trailers not being covered, police said.

The Washington County Sheriff's Office conducted the "loose-load" enforcement Saturday after receiving complaints from homeowners, primarily along U.S. 40, that trash was blowing out of vehicles driving to the landfill and onto the road.

Police said Saturday's patrols will not be the last, and there are plans for more random, frequent targeting of such violations.

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Police said sometimes entire bags of trash blow out of vehicles, and then other vehicles hit those bags and the trash blows around on the road and into homeowners' yards.

The Maryland traffic law states that a "vehicle carrying loose material loaded to within 6 inches of the top of the enclosure must be covered," police said. That would include garbage bags.

Police said the law also states it is illegal for a vehicle to operate on a highway with openings allowing loose material to spill.

Law enforcement officials do not need to witness materials coming out of the vehicle, police said. The law states the load must be covered to prevent spillage from occurring. Police said the law applies to private citizens and commercial haulers.

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