New legislation in Ohio could impose stricter penalties for debris that comes out of a vehicle and injures others, or damages other people's property, on the roadway.
The new legislation comes after Ron Regan, an investigative reporter with WCPO sister station WEWS in Cleveland, was involved in a rollover crash caused by an unsecured mattress that flew off a vehicle and into the roadway. A semi truck tried to avoid the mattress and clipped Regan's vehicle.
Regan found that fines for unsecured loads in Ohio is one of the lowest at $150 and no jail time.
The investigation also found that around 3,000 unsecured loads caused almost 7,000 crashes in the past five years in Ohio. Those crashes also resulted in more than 700 people injured and six people's deaths.
Regan presented his findings to legislators in Columbus, which resulted in the creation of House Bill 27. This bill would increase the fine for unsecured loads to $500, and it would increase criminal penalties to include a $25,000 fine and 60 days of jail time if a person is injured or their property is damaged by an unsecured load.
Regan hopes the bill will help protect other drivers.
"Your support of House Bill 27 would send a message," Regan said. "Unsecure loads have consequences that many victims have to live with for years.”