Utah Highway Patrol troopers and the Utah Department of Transportation held a press conference Tuesday to warn the public about the dangers of debris on Utah roads and to offer solutions to the problem -- ensuring that all loads are tied down.
The dangers of debris littering highways was brought to the forefront in March when a Sunset woman, Brenda Ruth Shaw, was impaled by a piece of scaffolding which flew through the window of her car, while she was traveling on I-15 in Layton.
Shaw lived, but hers is just one of many accidents caused yearly by road debris.
On Wednesday, Trooper Preston Raban, UHP public information officer, said the problem of debris in the roadways is a year-round one, but it gets worse in the spring and summer when construction projects gear up.
While UDOT personnel are charged with picking up the debris overnight, troopers are the ones who must run out into the travel lanes to clear debris during the day.
The job is dangerous. Raban said that in 1994 a trooper was killed as he ran out into the freeway to pick up a chunk of debris.
Troopers have picked up almost every imaginable thing from freeways. Raban said the list include a Jacuzzi, lawn mowers, "lots of ladders," truck beds, lawn furniture, hubcaps, lumber, sod and blown tires.
He said that when he was a patrol trooper, he pulled a large air conditioning duct from the road.
Rabin said anyone hauling items needs to make sure their load is secure. "Take responsibility. Walk around your vehicle and make sure it's safe to get out on the freeway."
An, as shown by the March accident, Davis County is not immune from road debris. "There's a lot of construction going on up there, and items are coming off trucks, and getting in the way of motorists, causing a hazard for drivers.