AAA Urges Drivers to Safely Secure Christmas Trees

An estimated 20 million Americans who purchased a real Christmas tree in the last three years did not properly secure it to their vehicle, according  to a new AAA survey, risking serious vehicle damage and dangerous road debris.

Vehicle damage resulting from an improperly secured Christmas tree, such as scratched paint, torn door seals and distorted window frames, could cost up to $1,500 to repair. In addition to vehicle damage, improperly secured Christmas trees are a safety hazard for other drivers. AAA urges all drivers to transport their Christmas trees safely this holiday season.

“Twine that is wrapped around trees and looped through door jambs or open windows can cause serious damage to door seals and window frames,” said Greg Brannon, director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations. “Drivers should never secure a Christmas tree to the top of a vehicle without a roof rack.”

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, road debris – which could include objects like improperly secured Christmas trees that fly off cars, landing on the road or on other cars – was responsible for more than 200,000 crashes that resulted in 39,000 injuries and 500 deaths over the past four years. Two-thirds of debris-related crashes are the result of improperly secured items falling from a vehicle.

Fortunately, Christmas trees can be safely transported by taking the following steps:


Drivers can face hefty fines and penalties as well as jail time if an unsecured tree falls off their vehicle. Currently every state has laws that make it illegal for items to fall from a vehicle while on the road. Most states’ penalties result in fines ranging from $10 and $5,000, with at least 16 states listing jail as a possible punishment for offenders. In North Dakota, a driver could face a fine of $500. Drivers can prevent injuries and avoid penalties by properly securing their loads to prevent items from falling off the vehicle.