CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The state of North Carolina is cracking down on a dangerous trend on the roadways.

Debris flying off cars and trucks is hurting people. The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) said in the past four years, there have been more than 3,500 crashes involving debris on the road, and most could have been prevented. These hazards resulted in 935 injuries and five fatalities.

“Motorists have to take responsibility for the debris that’s on the road,” AAA spokesperson Tiffany Wright said. “Just pretend, while you’re securing your load, that your loved ones are riding right behind you.”

If you’re left wondering about the safety of your haul, you’re doing it wrong. Don’t leave it up to chance.

“If you’re worried like, ‘Oh, I shouldn't go too fast’ or ‘I should go a different route’, you probably haven’t done your job when it comes to securing your load,” said Wright.

NCDOT and the American Automobile Association (AAA) said put the lighter stuff on the bottom, that way it won’t fly out. If possible, tie heavy items directly to the vehicle. Using a tarp or netting can keep loose items from blowing off.

“Driving with an unsecured load is not only dangerous, but it’s against the law,” Wright said.

The penalty in North Carolina for driving with an unsecured load can include up to a $2,000 fine, community service and one point on your driver’s license.

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