“Monsoon season brings roadway hazards” officials warn

Roadway litter presents an added hazard for Valley drivers who are trying to safely navigate the freeways during a monsoon storm. With weather forecasters predicting an early and active rainy season, it is more important than ever that motorists be prepared for heavy winds and blowing debris.

Litter is not only unsightly, but it is dangerous.  Roadway debris is responsible for 25,000 accidents nationwide every year, and there are an average of 100 crashes each year on regional freeways involving objects that are thrown out of or fall from vehicles, according to a press release.

Don’t Trash Arizona, a joint effort supported by the Maricopa Association of Governments and the Arizona Department of Transportation, encourages Valley drivers to take steps to ensure that the roads are safe and free of unnecessary litter during the monsoon.

“Our monsoon storms are dangerous enough on their own, but blowing debris and litter create the potential for an even more hazardous situation,” stated MAG Chair Michael LeVault, mayor of Youngtown, in the release. “For safety reasons, it is important that drivers act responsibly when disposing of their trash.”

Don’t Trash Arizona makes it easy for motorists to avoid littering and the hazards caused by littering by providing free litterbags and helpful tips on how to keep Arizona beautiful and safe, at this time of year and always:

  • Use litterbags: Be prepared and have a litterbag handy while on the road. Don’t Trash Arizona will send a free litterbag to Arizona residents who request one through the website. Keep a second bag for recyclable items such as paper and plastic.
  • Secure your load: Do not toss trash and other objects into truck beds as they will fly out while driving. An estimated 40 percent of litter comes from trucks and unsecured loads. Secure loads with straps, ropes and bungee cords or cover the entire bed with a tarp or net.
  • Put it out, inside: Use a portable ashtray in order to store cigarette butts until they can be properly disposed of in a trash can.

Littering by the numbers:

  • Every month, ADOT crews pick up more than 9,250 bags of trash from our regional freeways. That’s about 111,000 bags and 1.2 million pounds of trash every year.
  • $3 million in annual taxpayer dollars are spent for the 150,000 hours of labor it takes to pick up trash just along our regional freeways.
  • Cigarette butts represent more than one-third of all freeway litter. They can take years to decompose and the toxic chemicals in them can leach into the water supply.

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