Signed into law by President Obama on Dec. 4, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act addresses the risks of unsecured loads in the Highway Traffic Safety section.

It states: “The conferees are concerned about the dangers posed by unsecured loads on non-commercial vehicles. Federal grant funds for state-run safety campaigns raising awareness about the dangers posed by unsecured loads are currently eligible for funding under State Highway Safety Programs (23 U.S.C. 402). Therefore, the conferees encourage states to address unsecured loads the next time they submit their State Highway Safety Program for approval by the Secretary or through other state initiatives.”

In 2004, Maria Federici was driving on Interstate 405 in Washington state when an entertainment center flew out of an open trailer and smashed through her windshield.

“The driver actually had it (the entertainment center) tied,” said Robin Abel, Federici’s mother. “He accelerated on the freeway and the force of air made the entertainment center fly out.”

Federici was blinded by the accident. Since then, Abel became a determined advocate for secured loads. Because of her efforts, “Maria’s Law” went into effect in Washington in 2005, making it a crime to fail to secure a load.

Abel was instrumental in getting the language included in the FAST bill.

“As a nation, we spend $11.5 billion annually on litter clean-up, and it's documented by the Environmental Committee of the States that 20% to 40% is from unsecured loads,” says Abel.