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MURRAY - The Utah Department of Transportation kicked off its "Litter Hurts" campaign on Wednesday. UDOT says deadly accidents caused by junk on the roads have actually gone down recently, but it says it still happens too often.
Meredith Deckard was driving when she became a victim of road debris. Her eldest son, C.J. Frank, said her death could have been easily avoided. He said, "It's all because someone didn't take the extra five minutes to tie down their load."
He said she slammed into the median and was T-boned by a semi truck. "My children won't know my mom. My brother's children won't know my mom, and my little brother, who's still 16 and in high school, has to grow up not having his mom," Frank said.
UDOT Executive Director John Njord said, "This didn't have to happen. It didn't have to happen. All this person had to do was secure the load."
A dresser, a soda machine, and a bunch of other objects were picked up from Utah highways in one month. They are example of how dangerous litter can be. Njord said, "Don't just throw it in the back, tie it down."UDOT reports litter causes more than 2,500 car crashes on North American roads each year.
There were two deadly accidents in Utah because of lost debris last year, but the state says people are beginning to get the message.
"So the good news is we're making progress, but the bad news is we're still losing people's lives," Njord said.
Debris-related accidents statewide dropped by 22 percent in 2008.
The campaign, launched last year, featured TV commercials, billboards and a traveling display.
"I lost somebody great," Frank said. "Our community lost somebody great."
UDOT aims to push its efforts with a goal of preventing such tragic loss.
If you don't secure your load, you can face fines up to $500.