Since moving to the Snoqualmie Valley two decades ago, we’ve replaced multiple vehicle windshields and sustained exterior paint damage due to flying rocks on I-90 and SR 18. We quickly learned to add a separate – and cheaper – windshield replacement clause in our auto policy. I’ve also seen a neighbor sustain even worse damage. She was extremely lucky a large rock that came off a semi hauler didn’t make it through her windshield.
It seems the Washington State legislature is considering tweaking the covered load law that could change and possibly improve my ‘windshield woes.’
5th District Representatives Lisa Callan and Bill Ramos are part of a group of Washington State legislators who have introduced legislation – HB 2186 – that would amend state law (RCW 46.61.655 ), removing a loophole that gives trucks hauling loose materials – like dirt, rocks, gravel – a work-around to covering their loads.
Current state law says trucks don’t have to cover loads if six inches of free board is maintained within the truck bed. That’s why you commonly see semis in our area with boards attached to the sides of their truck and trailer beds. It’s also why even if those trucks are equipped with covers, the covers may go unused. (See example of free board in photo below).
House Bill 2186 would require covering of loads, even if free board is installed on hauler trucks. As proposed, HB 2186 would be phased in. For example, if a truck has the free board and a cover, it would be be required to now use that cover until July 2022.
After July 1, 2022 any vehicle driving on paved roads/public highways carrying items susceptible to escaping from truck beds, has to securely cover those loads.
Snoqualmie resident Amanda Rich is happy her local representatives helped introduce HB 2186. Both she and her husband’s cars have been hit by flying rocks recently.
Amanda said, “I got hit as I headed east on 90 a few months ago by truck with two trailers full of rock and no cover.” She sustained $500 in damage to her car’s hood. Luckily her windshield was spared.
HB 2186 is currently in the house, referred to the transportation committee. According to KIRO News Radio, similar legislation has been proposed in the past, but it failed to get through both the House and Senate.
The covered load law hasn’t been amended since it was adopted in 2005 in response to the tragic accident caused by flying debris that blinded and nearly killed Maria Federici on I-405.