Be responsible -- secure your loads and don’t litter

By John Halikowski / ADOT Director

A camper shell and mattress. Bent siding. No, these aren’t things I’m selling on eBay. These items were recently picked up along the roadway by a member of the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Incident Response Unit, sponsored by State Farm. 

Besides providing traffic incident management at crash sites and helping motorists, our IRU crews pick up all sorts of items that have fallen out of trucks and cars because they weren’t secure. It’s risky to retrieve them out of the roadway. Law enforcement officers and ADOT employees are put in dangerous situations having to clear the road of debris.

This kind of debris can cause crashes and even fatalities. In Arizona, we are seeing an increase in the number of crashes involving debris with a handful of tragic fatalities. In 2019, we had 2,172 crashes with five fatalities; in 2020, there were 2,318 crashes and five fatalities.

Debris-related crashes are preventable if drivers would just secure their loads. Tie-downs, netting, bungee cords, ropes, straps and tarps can all be used to keep belongings in vehicles and off the road. Doing so makes travel safer for everyone. There are helpful tips from the Don’t Trash Arizona website on the do’s and don’ts of securing loads.

Along with a reminder to secure loads, I want to urge everyone to stop littering. We are having a trash problem on our roadways. Recently, ADOT personnel in southern Arizona collected 11,000 pounds of trash and bulk items along an 11-mile stretch of Interstate 10 from Rita Road to Kino Boulevard. It’s been a hotspot for roadside garbage and debris.

In addition to being unsightly, garbage can clog our drainage system and bring wildlife near our roadways. It’s a safety issue.

Let’s “Keep Arizona Grand!” Visit to report roadside trash violations, and ADOT’s Adopt A Highway program to be a  volunteer and help keep our roadways litter free. 

Be responsible -- secure your loads and don’t litter!

John S.Halikowski, ADOT Director


This post originally appeared on ADOT Director John Halikowski's LinkedIn page. He has led the agency since 2009.