Why Improperly Loaded Trucks Can Cause Wrecks

You should always be wary when you are passing big trucks and never drive too closely behind them. The tractor trailer you are driving behind has blind spots. It may also have been improperly loaded.

The trucking industry is highly regulated and loading is no exception. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration brought in new cargo securement rules in 2004.

It’s not enough for a load to be secured. It needs to meet performance requirements that ensure the load will remain in place during deceleration in the forward direction, and “acceleration in the rearward and lateral directions.”

improperly loaded trucks lead to crashes

A truck crash on I-64

Loading is usually done by a shipping or a loading company. Specialist knowledge is needed to ensure a load is safe.

Measures Outlined by FMCSA to Prevent Improper Loading

1 Items that are likely to roll must be restrained by wedges, chocks, a cradle or another means to prevent rolling.

2 Cargo must be completely immobilized or secured with shoring bars or tie downs. Inflatable dunnage bags should be used if there are gaps between items of cargo.

3 The working load limit of a securement system must be at least one-half the weight of the items being secured.

4 There are rules about the minimum number of tie downs needed related to the length of the trailer.

5 There are special rules related to certain loads such as logs, boulders, and cars.

We recently noted improper loading is one of five major causes of trucking wrecks, although far fewer accidents are caused by badly loaded trucks than driver error.

When a truck is inadequately loaded, there are a number of potentially serious accident scenarios that can occur. They include:

  • The big rig becoming unbalanced and toppling over, causing a wreck
  • Dangerous items sliding forward and injuring or killing the trucker
  • Cargo falling out of the truck and hitting other motorists
  • Material being left in the highway where it can be an obstruction and an accident hazard to other vehicles.

When loads fall off trucks, the consequences can be deadly for other drivers. Often debris in the road leads to multi-vehicle crashes on interstates. In these scenarios, you have a right to sue a trucking company or a shipping company for injuries that ensue.

Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers is the author of The Best Book About Virginia Trucking Accidents. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a tractor trailer accident, you should consider calling us at (757) 455-0077 for a free consultation.

Jim Hurley

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