CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – It may seem like common sense, but forgetting one simple thing could cost you more than $100 in fines. One mid-state county's Environmental Enforcement Unit is out looking for offenders.
Nancy Rushing has a weekly ritual of hauling trash from home to a transfer station, but she takes a few extra steps to make sure all of it gets there.
"If you go along the streets here in Montgomery County you'll see a lot of trash along the roads and that's due to the fact that they do not tie their trash down," she said. "I've actually seen things pop out of the back of people's trucks, and could almost hit a vehicle."
It's not just about caring about the environment, it's the law. But not everyone follows Tennessee's Secure Load Law, which requires items be tied down or covered with a tarp.
"They're not trying a lot of times to do that. But it's still ends up on our roadways," said Sgt. Mike Leutert with Montgomery County's Environmental Enforcement Unit.
Leutert has stopped thousands of drivers over the years, and says people who don't comply could face hundreds of dollars in fines.
"I try to give them one chance, advise them what the law is, teach them about that and then if I run into them again then we're going to have a different conversation," he said.
Leutert said if everyone tied-down their trash it would stop 50 percent of litter on the roads. It just takes people to start thinking about their trash as more than trash.
"Treat it like it's your grandmother's antiques or you're moving from point A to point B with all your valuables from your home," he said.
It could mean people who do follow the rules won't have to waste time cleaning up after others.
"I live on a road where I see a lot of trash, and I'm the one having to pick that up and I don't want to have to pick up someone else's trash," Rushing said.
Offenders won't just have to pay up to $500 dollars in fines. There are also court costs and possible hours of community service.