Every weekday, 500 bags of trash are removed from Maricopa County freeways, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation. The state estimates 150,000 taxpayer-funded labor hours go into cleaning up our roadways each year.
So Gov. Jan Brewer has proclaimed Friday as Don't Trash Arizona! Day, in recognition of a five-year campaign to reduce litter on state and regional highways. The education and awareness campaign, a joint effort of Maricopa Association of Governments and ADOT, was launched in July 2006 with funding from Proposition 400, and is designed to teach the public about the economic, health, safety and environmental impacts of roadside litter, according to a news release.
"When drivers swerve to avoid dangerous debris, it can result in serious crashes, or at a minimum cause significant traffic delays and congestion," ADOT Director John Halikowski said. "One of our core messages in the Don't Trash Arizona! program is for drivers to take just a few minutes to properly secure their loads."
In fact, ADOT estimates that 45 percent of roadside litter is the result of items blowing or falling from vehicles.