Monsoon winds make freeway trash more dangerous

Posted: Updated:
By Jayson Chesler By Jayson Chesler

YOUNGTOWN, Ariz. -- While drivers may be ready to adjust for dust and rain brought by monsoons, there's another dangerous element of the storms that actually comes from the drivers themselves: trash.

Youngtown Mayor Michael LeVault works with the Maricopa Association of Governments on their "Don't Trash AZ" campaign, a program battling littering within the state. LeVault said that on a typical weekday, crews pick up 500 bags of trash from the freeway system.

"There are all kinds of things that get thrown out of cars," LeVault said. "Fast food wrappers, potato chip bags, cups, bottles, cans."

That amount of trash is a problem in itself, as LeVault said it costs the state millions of dollars to clean it up. However, during monsoon season, there is an entirely different set of problems created by the trash.

"Trash can become airborne and actually become missiles, if you will, when we have wind gusts sometimes exceeding 50 miles an hour," LeVault said.

Lost loads and trash cause approximately 100 freeway crashes a year, according to MAG. With monsoon season underway, the organization recommended drivers secure loads with ropes and tarps and keep trash off of the freeway.

For more information about the "Don't Trash AZ" campaign, visit its website.