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Failure to Adequately Secure Load
O.C.G.A. § 40-6-254 states that a person may not operate a motor vehicle with a load that is not adequately secured. Drivers must secure objects being transported in or on their vehicles to prevent the "dropping or shifting of such load onto the roadway in such a manner as to create a safety hazard." O.C.G.A. § 40-6-254 specifies that a "load" includes a trailer. It may consist of other things as well, such as items in a truck bed or the back of a van.
O.C.G.A. § 40-6-248.1 is also relevant to this offense. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-248.1 states that vehicles may not be driven on public roads unless they are constructed, loaded, or covered so that items in the vehicle do not drop, escape, or shift onto the roadway and:
(1) Create a safety hazard, or
(2) Deposit litter on a roadway.
The law further states that drivers may not transport loads unless the load and any covering is securely fastened so that neither the covering nor the load itself:
(1) Comes loose, detached, or otherwise creates a safety hazard, or
(2) Deposits litter onto a roadway.
The law applies to commercial vehicles as well as personal vehicles.
What are the penalties for Failure to Adequately Secure Load?
In Georgia, driving with an unsecured load is a misdemeanor. This is true under both O.C.G.A. § 40-6-254 and O.C.G.A. § 40-6-248.1. That means that the maximum penalty for a conviction is 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 plus court costs and fees.
What are the license penalties for driving with an unsecured load?
Convictions under these statutes will result in 2 points on your driver's license. Click here to learn more about the Georgia points system and how it can affect your ability to keep driving.
What else should I know about driving with an unsecured load?
One important thing to note is that Driving with an Unsecured Load is a "strict liability" offense. This is only relevant in the civil context; i.e., if you are sued for activity related to driving with an unsecured load. "Strict liability" means that it doesn't matter what a defendant's mental state was when he took an action that caused an injury. All that matters is whether or not he committed the act.
Do I need a lawyer if I've been charged with Failure to Adequately Secure Load?
I always recommend that you talk to a lawyer if you have been charged with any criminal offense. And, in Georgia, traffic offenses are criminal offenses. Even seemingly minor traffic tickets can cause a big headache, especially if you are from out-of-state, if you have a CDL, or if you'd rather not spend a whole day sitting in court. Have more questions about Driving with an Unsecured Load in Georgia? Call me today.
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