Dodging death: items that end up on Nebraska roads

Dodging death: items that end up on Nebraska roads

Strange items end up on Nebraska interstates every day.

It's stuff like lawn chairs, mattresses, even couches.

So who's responsible for cleaning all this up and for getting it done before somebody gets hurt?

FOX 42 News went to find those answers.

Jim Laughlin said, "I've picked up couches, chairs, refrigerators, stoves."

In his 17 years with the Nebraska Department of Roads Laughlin has seen it all.

"We pick a lot of ladders up...they'll just throw them in the back of their pickup's. They'll hit a bump...and the ladder goes flying."

Laughlin is a highway maintenance superintendent in Omaha.

He says bed liners are common items he sees on Nebraska highways. He says he'll usually pick one up about once a month and it's on the side or in the middle of the road. He says it's all because people haven't secured them to their trucks.

Laughlin says people also forget to secure things like laundry baskets, buckets, and mattresses.

"They make straps and bungie cords for securing things. People need to use them...I know sometimes people in the middle of the night just pull over to the side of the road and dump it."

Either way, Laughlin says it's something that makes him angry.

"My crews have more important things to do than pick up after people. We have roads to maintain."

More importantly, he says these items are dangerous for Nebraska drivers.

"I've seen accidents happen because of those right in front of me."

Laughlin says it happens several times each year.

"Imagine driving down the road and the pickup in front of you loses his mattress?”

Or what about a lawn chair? Laughlin says he picked one up that was in the middle of a narrow construction area.

"If it happens right in front of you your natural reaction is to swerve and in a narrow construction zone like that there's nowhere to go...debris falls off in that lane people have no choice, but to hit it."

Doing this could cause damage to your car, or in some cases damage to you.

Laughlin said, "The key thing would be is securing everything on their vehicles before they leave."

It's a message he wants everyone to hear to keep Nebraska roads clear and to make sure drivers don't have to spend their days dodging death.

Laughlin said, "We want to present our city in a good way, our whole state for that matter."

Here's another reason to secure stuff to your car: if your stuff falls onto Nebraska roads you'll have to pay a $100 fine.

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