View Full Version : Speeding Trucks Litter Our Freeways

09-01-2004, 07:36 AM
At least once a month, trash crews are out on Oklahoma City's freeways, especially Lake Hefner Parkway (the most scenic in the city because of the water), cleaning up bags full of trash. A lot of the litter includes stuff that disrespectful morons throw out the window- beer bottles, fast food cartons, cans. But have you noticed- lately- that there is more to our litter than hand-thrown trash? Ever wonder how it gets there? Yesterday morning, it seems that someone lost a garden hose on the southbound lanes of the Parkway between 63rd and 50th. It's still there as we speak, ripped to shreds from people running over it.

Last month, a roll of foam was in the middle of the Parkway, and a week before the foam was there, some phone books were scattered along the break down lane.

Several times, I see trucks speeding past me at a lightning pace, with junk in the pack swirling around just waiting to catch an exit breeze. Often times, the wind from an uncovered truck bed picks up whatever trash is blowing around back there, and it's left to dirty up the Parkway. Even worse, and this makes me grind my teeth, are the stupid idiots who leave the tailgate down with unsecured objects in the pack, from plywood and lumber to mattresses, cages, plastic piping and yes, garbage bags full of junk or cut grass, all unsecured and not tied down. Those trucks that do secure their freight do not bother me. But when loose objects are simply resting on the bed of a truck, the drivers are too ignorant or dumb to realize that they are putting people behind them in danger, especially when there is a 2 x 4 left in the middle of the road from not being tied down.

I remember on a road trip in 1998 to see Metallica, my friend had to dodge- get this- a refrigerator- in the middle of the interstate. The people hauling it had pulled over three miles down trying to figure out how far back they lost it. Holding all of their appliances together on a shabby trailer were a bunch of rubber straps with the metal hooks. Yeah, like that's gonna hold a fridge, washer and dryer, and some huge white box (deep freeze?) on a wooden trailer with half-inflated tires.

The point is this- people driving trucks need to use their head. Especially those hauling stuff. And please- STOP THROWING TRASH IN THE TRUCK BED. IT IS NOT A DEPOSITORY! If your doing 80 MPH, your trash isn't going to stay back there. Which is why Lake Hefner Parkway is notorious for litter. I think Oklahoma City should start requiring trucks to cover their beds if they are hauling bags of trash in the back. If not, they should be ticketed. Or, if you can't respect our city and state enough to keep it clean, there are 49 other states you can move to and dirty up. And don't complain about Oklahoma's litter if you're part of the problem. Chances are, that insulation that covered the Parkway median last spring was probably yours!

09-01-2004, 11:50 AM
I think we really need to cack down on this type of littering, and littering in general. Our police force says it costs too much money to enforce the littering laws. Seems to me like if we wrote enough littering tickets, an antilittering raid would pay for itself. Anyone seen how much most tickets cost lately?? My future brother-in-law was issued a ticket last week for failing to stop at a stop sign. I figured the ticket would be around $70. I guess I haven't gotten a ticket in awhile (the last speedning ticket I got was $75), because fines have gone way up. His ticket was $170. Seems like at those rates, the OKCPD would be making enough money to pay their police and then some!

I went to Washington state a few years dad had a business meeting there....he dad had some friends in the car and one decided to throw a bottle out the window. Well, the police saw it, and wrote my dad's friend a $300 ticket. I wondered how Washington state kept their freeways so clean!

Seems like our method here in Oklahoma is, "Clean it up after they mess it up" whereas, Washington state's method is more preventative......write citations to try to prevent littering in the first place. Once you get a $300 ticket, you'll think twice next time about littering.

09-01-2004, 01:23 PM
We mentioned pet peeves in another thread. This is one of mine. Not only do we have to contend with unattractive development along the interstates, but also the trash as well.

A couple of years back, Mayor Humphreys recalled on "Mayor's Magazine" that Governor Keating had actually callled him on his mobile in the car while driving on I-44 N-bound, saying "There's every imaginable piece of trash on this highway except the kitchen sink....wait, there's the kitchen sink."

Patrick, I wholeheartedly back the use of stiff fines, but it seems that the political leadership doesn't want to crack down on it. I know they believe it's a problem, but they just can't get themselves to be hard on offenders, not wanting to upset those everyday motorists and truckers who represent constituencies. They don't want to seem oppressive like Malaysia, or communistic -- with our conservative attitudes toward government and all.

Instead, we have soft campaigns like "Keep Our Land Grand". It's not enough. People won't take littering seriously until we punish seriously.

It's a public relations (hence economic development), quality of life, safety, and environmental issue. It reminds me of the "broken windows" theory: if you let minor crimes like vandalism and littering go unchecked, that opens the door to a lot worse. While I still don't perceive OKC as having a rampant crime problem, it reflects an attitude that we just don't care.

09-01-2004, 01:32 PM
Amen floater. LOL on the Keating/Humphreys conversation, but it's oh so true. Problem is, Keating's "Keep our Land Grand" campaign was a joke. Instead of spending money on that, we would've been better off hiring officers to enforce our laws. If we keep being tolerant, people are just going to keep taking advantage of us. I think it's time city leaders stop worrying about what their consituents think, and start enforcing the law. You know, Bush always claims that he doesn't worry about what others thinks, but just does what he feel is right in his gutt! If most of our leaders are such conservatives, why don't they take his advice? Quit worrying about what constituents think, and start focusing on what it will take to improve the overall image of our city.