Trucking accidents can very often lead to serious injury or even death. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA), trucking accidents kill almost 4,000 people and injure over 100,000 each year in the United States. On average, about 1 in 10 highway fatalities results from a crash involving a large truck. The reality is that occupants of passenger vehicles are most vulnerable in trucking accidents. Of the 3,903 fatalities from large truck crashes in 2014, over 70% were occupants of passenger vehicles. A study conducted by the FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that cargo shifts are a common cause of trucking accidents.
These types of accidents typically occur when a truck’s cargo is not properly secured and shifts during transportation, which can result in the driver losing control of the vehicle. Cargo shifts increase the risk of rollovers, which is when the truck turns on its side, and jackknife accidents, which occurs when the trailer swings outward forming a 90-degree angle with the cab. Improperly secured cargo can also result in spills onto the highway causing debris to fall in the direct pathway of other vehicles or making direct contact with other vehicles on the road.
Cargo Securement Regulations
The laws regarding the securement of cargo on large commercial trucks is set by the FMCSA. The FMCSA requires that cargo be properly distributed and adequately secured. The most recent regulations were established in 2004, which included changes to how securement devices are used and increased requirements for the use of tiedowns.
As a general rule, drivers must make sure that cargo is secured by structures of adequate strength, dunnage, or dunnage bags, shoring bars, tiedowns or a combination of these devices. The changes were made with the intent of reducing the number of accidents related to or caused by cargo shifting or falling from commercial trucks.
Drivers are also responsible for routine inspection of the cargo and load securement devices throughout the course of transportation. In addition to the specific cargo securement regulations set out by the FMCSA, the U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration and the Texas Department of Transportation make rules governing the trucking industry.
Texas Truck Cargo Accidents
As anyone who has driven in Texas will realize, the trucking industry is a very significant part of the state’s economy. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, 525 of the 3,399 fatalities in 2012 involved commercial trucking vehicles and that number increased to 531 in 2013. Given that Houston is a major industry hub and the most populated city in the state, it is no surprise that Harris county accounted for the most deaths and accidents involving commercial trucking vehicles.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to a truck cargo accident, contact the experienced truck accident lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. for help. With the help of one of our renowned Texas truck accident lawyers, you may be able to recover compensation for your medical bills, loss of earning capacity, and intangible losses for physical pain, mental anguish, disfigurement, and physical impairment. Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to help with your claim and to help protect your family’s financial future while you focus on recovery.
Please contact our firm today at (281) 283-8500 to schedule a free, one-on-one case consultation with one of our skilled Houston truck accident lawyers.