The in basket: Tom Loushe of Clear Creek Road sent me a picture of a Kitsap County dump truck passing his house without what Tom believed was the legally required cover over its load.
“I see this constantly and not just county trucks. What gives?” he asked.
The out basket: Christopher Piercy, the county’s recycling coordinator in the solid waste division, says, “This load appears to be legal. Washington State law states that vehicles must cover loads with less than 6 inches of freeboard along the side rail of the container. In this case it appears to meet that requirement.”
He referred me to “a very good Washington State Patrol website that details these requirements: http://www.wsp.wa.gov/traveler/loadloss.htm.”
Freeboard is the distance between the top of the truck bed and where the load touches the inside of the bed. A heavy load like gravel, dirt or sand can rise higher than the edge of the bed and be seen from outside the truck, if there is that six inches of freeboard around the edges after the load has had a chance to settle, according to a diagram on that site.
It also says, “If the load is a type of material that will be blown from the vehicle while the vehicle is in motion, then that type of load shall be covered to prevent this from occurring.”