PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — For the last three weekends, officials in Washington state have been increasing patrols to look for people who have not properly secured their items down on their vehicles.

This isn’t just a little problem. Law enforcement officials say over 700 people are killed every year in the United States from unsecured loads. In the state of Washington, two people have reportedly already died this year.

Washington State Patrol partnered with the Department of Ecology, Traffic Safety Commission and the Department of Transportation.

Officials say they hope that they can educate people to secure their loads before they leave and not have to deal with the consequences of getting caught not doing so.

Sergeant Darren Wright with WSP says they’re finding that a lot of people are being hurt and killed due to items flying out of cars and trucks.

“Sometimes something will fall out and someone will swerve to avoid it and get into a crash,” said Sgt. Wright. “If you think about a motorcycle -– it doesn’t take much debris to fall into the road to cause very severe injuries or fatalities.”

Even if you’re not concerned about the items in your load, officials say you should to be concerned about fellow drivers.

Sgt. Wright said it doesn’t matter how heavy the object is, gravity is not a securement device.

A penalty can range from a fine of $137 to criminal charges if your failure to secure a load leads to someone’s injury or worse.