Large trucks usually carry cargo while on the road – this cargo can often be large and heavy, and sometimes, they can also be hazardous. A simple slipping or imbalance of the load can lead to disastrous accidents. This is why it is extremely important that truck cargos are properly loaded and secure, and federal rules are trying to ensure this.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the government body that regulates trucking in the US. It has set some strict research-based rules on how trucks should load and secure their cargo.
The FMCSA’s general rule states that “Cargo must be firmly immobilized or secured on or within a vehicle by structures of adequate strength, dunnage or dunnage bags, shoring bars, tiedowns or a combination of these.”
In addition to this general rule, there are also specific rules on cargo placement, restraint, load limit, and securement devices. Further, the FMCSA has more specific instructions on special commodities such as logs, concrete pipes, equipment, and large boulders.
Truck drivers and companies throughout the country are required to follow these rules. If an accident occurs and it is found that the truck violated loading or securement rules, the driver or company may face legal consequences.
Prevalence Of Accidents
These federal rules are important to help reduce the number of accidents involving improper loading or cargo securement. Every year, thousands of disasters result from this unsafe practice.
The FMCSA released data from 2005 showing that some 3,000 trucks were involved in cargo securement accidents that year. The following year, the agency published a Report to Congress, stating that cargo shifting and securement issues were the primary or contributing factors in at least 7% of the 147,000 total large-truck accidents in 2006.
Types Of Accidents
Some of the accidents that result from inadequate securement or improper loading are:
- Jack-knifing – If a trailer truck’s heavy cargo shifts in balance, the trailer may swing to one side (resembling a jackknife) and cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle.
- Vehicle tipping or rollover – A weight shift in the cargo can also cause the whole vehicle to tip or roll over to one side.
- Falling cargo – Transported items that come lose and fall from a truck can crush vehicles or people who happen to be behind the truck.
- Spilled hazardous materials – Flammable liquids can cause fiery road accidents, and hazardous chemicals can pose serious health threats to people in the vicinity.
Injuries And Fatalities
Because of the heavy and sometimes dangerous nature of truck cargos, the injuries in these accidents can be catastrophic. Head trauma, brain injuries, broken bones, and amputations are among them. It is also unfortunately common to find fatalities in these truck crashes.
If you or your loved one has been seriously injured in Missouri or Kansas because of a truck’s improperly loaded cargo, contact Flick Law Firm to help obtain the compensation you need. Our law firm is highly experienced in truck accidents, and have been winning cases like yours since 1995.