The Metropolitan King County Council today recognized and thanked Renton resident Robin Abel for her years of volunteer work to promote awareness and enforcement of “secure your load” regulations on vehicles.
Abel is the mother of Maria Federici, who was severely injured seven years ago when an unsecured piece of furniture fell off a truck on the freeway and went through her windshield. Since then, Abel has become a leading advocate for roadway safety and strengthening traffic laws requiring secured loads. With her persistence, the state Legislature passed “Maria’s Law,” making it a crime to carry an unsecured load.
Recently, Abel worked with Councilmember Kathy Lambert and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WashDOT) on promoting the use of highway reader boards with the Washington State Patrol’s statewide Secure Your Loads campaign and emphasis patrol in May.
”I have been inspired by Maria’s courageous recovery, and by Robin’s untiring and persistent work to strengthen laws and enforcement for securing loads on vehicles,” said Councilmember Lambert. “Thanks to her vigilance, King County’s garbage transfer stations now are posted with reminder signs to all drivers to secure their loads. We all are safer on our roads and freeways because of Robin’s dedication to this cause.”
Joining Councilmember Lambert in presenting the recognition was Seattle City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, who talked about her work with late King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng in assisting Robin with getting Maria’s Law approved. WashDOT Regional Administrator Lorena Eng also provided details about the state’s recent “secure your load” campaign.
“I am honored to recognize Robin for her tireless work,” said Councilmember Bagshaw. “Norm Maleng would be proud.”
“In addition to being a hazard to drivers, unsecured loads pose a safety problem to maintenance crews and state patrol, who must remove the debris while under live traffic,” said Lorena Eng. She also noted the cost of debris removal from state highways, which amounted to $4 million in 2010.
The recognition thanks Robin Abel “for her inspiring personal dedication to improving safety on roadways in King County and across the state,” and urges all agencies, businesses, and residents to take extra precautions to “secure your load.”
“Secure your load as if everyone you love is driving in the car behind you,” Robin Abel advised.
If you see an unsecured load, please report it by calling the state toll-free hotline at 866-LITTER-1.
WHEREAS, it is the responsibility of King County government to provide for safe roadways and transportation corridors in the region; and
WHEREAS, roadway debris that falls out of or is thrown from a vehicle causes an average of 400 motor vehicle collisions every year on Washington roadways, resulting in serious injuries and fatalities; and
WHEREAS, debris from vehicles endangers other motorists when it strikes other vehicles and also when motorists swerve to avoid the debris; and
WHEREAS, the Washington State Department of Transportation, Department of Ecology, and the Washington State Patrol recently conducted the first “secure your load” emphasis patrol to educate motorists about the legal requirements for transporting materials safely; and
WHEREAS, the Department of Ecology operates a toll-free “Litter and It Will Hurt” hotline at 866-LITTER-1 to report those hauling unsecured loads; and
WHEREAS, the statewide emphasis and tougher new laws on securing loads is largely due to the support of late King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng and the volunteer work of King County resident Robin Abel, a leading advocate and compelling spokeswoman for roadway safety, following the severe injuries suffered by her daughter, Maria Federici; and
WHEREAS, Robin Abel co-authored a book, “Out of Nowhere,” using her personal experiences to illustrate the necessity of securing loads on vehicles to save lives on our roadways;
NOW, THEREFORE, we, the Metropolitan King County Council, recognize
for her inspiring personal dedication to improving safety on roadways in King County and across the state, and we urge all agencies, businesses, and residents to take extra precautions to “secure your load” on vehicles.
DATED this fifth day of July, 2011.
Robin Abel (holding recognition) with members of the Metropolitan King County Council, Washington State Troopers Capt. Darrin Grondel (back row center) and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officer Bill Balcom (back row right) and WashDOT Regional Administrator Lorena Eng (front row right). Abel was recognized by the Council for her volunteer work to promote awareness and enforcement of “secure your load” regulations on vehicles.
Councilmember Lambert with Robin Abel