Be it a dump truck or a tractor-trailer, unsecured cargo of a commercial truck can cause catastrophic accidents, particularly on fast moving highways. Last year, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reported that between 2011 and 2014, 500 people were killed in accidents caused by road debris. Another 39,000 people were injured in the more than 200,000 cargo-related crashes.
Having to Swerve to Avoid Fallen Objects Leads to Fatal Accidents
According to AAA, more than 37 percent of all deaths in the road debris accidents occurred when an oncoming driver swerved to avoid hitting a fallen object. But when it comes to large trucks, the cargo doesn’t have to fall off the rig to be deadly.
Improperly secured or loaded cargo can shift and, especially when driving at highway speeds, cause the truck driver to lose control. Jack-knifed tractor-trailers pose dangers to not only truck drivers but obviously others nearby as well.
So what are the guidelines for securing truck cargo?
Unsecured Truck Cargo Leading Cause for Serious Inspection Violations
Federal government rules spell out how a truck’s cargo should be loaded and secured. Despite the rules, cargo errors are a leading out-of-service violation found in federal trucking safety inspections. An out-of-service violation means the rig can’t be driven until the violation is addressed.
The federal rules target the design and strength of tie-downs, as well as how many tie-downs should be used based on the size and weight of the cargo. The rules also are customized for specific types of cargo, including logs, metal coils, concrete pipe, and automobiles.
The very real threats of unsecured truck cargo are reflected in this year’s Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s International Roadcheck to be held in June. This annual event is a three-day set of commercial truck roadside inspections throughout North America. The organizers have announced this year’s inspections will focus on cargo securement.
Who is responsible when an improperly loaded commercial truck causes a serious accident? The fault doesn’t necessarily start and end with the driver. Trucking companies should always ensure the cargo on their rigs is properly secured before the trucks hit the road.
If you had a family member die or you were seriously injured in an accident involving a large commercial truck, turn to an experienced trucking accident attorney to investigate all possible causes and pursue justice on your behalf.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.
Authored by Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C. in Blog April 17, 2017