A tractor-trailer carrying cargo can weigh tens of thousands of pounds. This is a scary amount of weight, especially when the truck is on the road alongside many regular cars with everyday people traveling to a variety of destinations. It can be intimidating driving on the same road as a tractor-trailer as it is, but if the cargo isn’t properly secured to the truck, its center of gravity can shift and suddenly cause the truck to crash or even overturn.
Rollover and jackknife truck accidents usually occur because the truck’s cargo is improperly loaded or secured. if the vehicle is transporting hazardous materials, such as gasoline, it can cause a huge, devastating disaster. These accidents can result in significant property damage, serious injuries, and even death.
Responsibility for Securing Transfer Truck Cargo
In 2004, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which regulates the United States trucking industry, updated its rules and regulations regarding securing truck cargo. The Administration states that the updated requirements are meant to reduce the number of accidents on the road that occur by cargo shifting or falling from trucks.
Generally, the FMCSA requires cargo to be secured firmly with the use of strong tiedowns, inflatable dunnage bags that can fill up space between the items in the cargo and the wall of the truck, shoring bars, or any combination of these things. If cargo is likely to roll when the truck is in motion, it must be held in place by chocks, wedges, a cradle, or with something else that won’t allow it to come loose while the truck is moving.
Regulations Address Certain Factors
There are certain regulations in place that lay out requirements and address specific factors relating to the safety and security of carrying cargo on a tractor-trailer. These regulations generally include the following considerations:
- The load limit of the securement system of the cargo compared to the weight of the cargo.
- Positioning anchor points and a minimum number of tiedowns to be used to keep the cargo secure.
- Detailed requirements for securing items like vehicles, metal coils, heavy machinery, and equipment, dressed lumber, large boulders, and more.
Importance of Properly Loading Cargo
Cargo that’s not properly secured to a truck can easily come free and move while the truck is moving. It can shift the truck due to its balance being off and lead to an accident. Trucks generally have a higher center of gravity than regular vehicles, which means they’re less stable. A cargo shift also weighs much more than a regular vehicle, which can lead to the truck driver losing control and crashing.
Trucks that lose control on the road can jackknife or roll over, and the effects can be devastating. Other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians in the area can be injured or even killed when such a catastrophic accident occurs. Cargo can also come loose and fall onto another vehicle, which can potentially lead to deadly effects.
What can a Truck Accident Lawyer Do?
If you are injured after a truck accident involving cargo, it’s important to have a personal injury attorney on your side. Your personal injury lawyer will investigate the incident to ensure that you can get all the compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages. A severe injury accident could leave you out of work for an extended period. As you recover, you’ll likely accumulate costly medical bills. Work with an attorney to help you secure compensation for:
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Past and future medical expenses
- Reduced quality of life
- And more