'Secure Your Load Day' brings awareness to crash-causing debris

Posted: Updated:
"Secure Your Load Day" brings awareness to the rising number of road crashes and fatalities due to road debris. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) "Secure Your Load Day" brings awareness to the rising number of road crashes and fatalities due to road debris. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Paul Reif's son was killed when a loose piece of metal bounced off the pavement and impaled the windshield of the car he was driving. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Paul Reif's son was killed when a loose piece of metal bounced off the pavement and impaled the windshield of the car he was driving. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Matthew Reif was killed when a loose piece of metal bounced off the pavement and impaled the windshield of the car he was driving. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Matthew Reif was killed when a loose piece of metal bounced off the pavement and impaled the windshield of the car he was driving. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Tuesday marked Arizona's first "Secure Your Load Day," a day to bring awareness to the rising number of road crashes and fatalities due to road debris.

Paul Reif knows firsthand the catastrophe of these debris-related road accidents.

His son, Matthew Reif, was killed when a loose piece of metal bounced off the pavement and impaled the windshield of the car he was driving.  

"We miss Matthew every day, and our family will never be the same," Reif said.

These crashes also mean trouble for road workers who are contracted to remove the debris from the road.

"Debris on our highways and streets are dangerous for both vehicles and the workers that respond to remove it," said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton."We must protect these workers."

Annually, there are 1,000 debris-related car accidents in Arizona. Thirteen are fatal and another 22 result in serious injuries. 

"Securing your load whether it be dirt and rocks, construction equipment, furniture or camping equipment ensures a safe arrival for not just your stuff, but also other drivers and passengers," said Col. Frank Milstead, director of the Department of Public Safety.

The request to commemorate the day comes from the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, the Arizona Department of Transportation, the Department of Public Safety, the Don't Trash Arizona program and the families of loved ones killed in debris-related car crashes. 

Road accidents because of debris on the road are becoming more and more common. The AAA Foundation of Highway Safety estimated that nationally 51,000 car accidents are caused by debris on the road. Forty states now observe "Secure Your Load Day" on June 6.

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.