Trucking companies and their drivers are responsible for ensuring that their loads are properly secured. When they are not, people can be hurt or even killed.
The United States economy depends on the commercial trucking industry to deliver goods and commodities throughout the country. In fact, commercial trucks are responsible for the transportation of 68 percent of all freight tonnage in America. This means that there are millions of large commercial trucks on the road at any given time.
Trucking companies and their drivers are responsible for ensuring that their loads are properly secured. When loads are unsecured or unstable, cargo can shift or fall in transit, which can lead to serious accidents. In most cases, load accidents occur because the truck driver loses control of their vehicles due to cargo shifting or when freight falls onto the roadway.
If you or a loved one was involved in an accident with a tractor trailer, The Krist Law Firm, P.C. can help. We have the skills and resources necessary to navigate a complicated trucking accident claim that often involves negotiations with insurance companies. Contact our Houston trucking accident lawyers today at 281-283-8500 to find out how we can help you.
Dangers of Unsecured Loads
Data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) indicates that cargo shifts and load securement issues are a contributing factor is at least 7 percent of large truck crashes. In addition, the American Automobile Association (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety study found that vehicle-related road debris (i.e. cargo, equipment, vehicle parts) causes an estimated 25,000 crashes every year.
Heavy-duty trucks have a higher center of gravity, which means that shifting or unstable loads can negatively impact the vehicle’s stability. Truckers are more likely to lose control when loads are too heavy, insecurely fastened, or mounted too high on the vehicle. This is why improper loading is also a major factor in rollover crashes involving large commercial trucks.
A 2008 Large Truck Crash Causation Study by the FMCSA found that improperly loaded cargo was most likely to have an impact on ramps and curves, during lane changes, and when a wheel drops off the pavement. The hazards associated with unsecured loads can be exacerbated by any of the following circumstances:
- Poor road conditions
- Environmental factors
- Steep grades or hills
- Driving too fast for the conditions
- High winds
FMCSA Cargo Securement Regulations
Commercial trucks that operate in interstate commerce and have gross vehicle rating over 10,000 lbs. are subject to the FMCSA’s cargo securement rules. Truck drivers and trucking companies must contain, immobilize, and secure cargo so that it does not:
- Blow away from the vehicle
- Fall from the vehicle
- Fall through the vehicle
- Become dislodged from the vehicle
- Shift to the extent that adversely impacts the vehicle’s stability or maneuverability
To comply with FMCSA rules, trucks must be equipped with an adequate securement system and inspected by the driver. There are also specific securement requirements depending on the nature and type of cargo.
The driver is responsible for conducting periodic inspections during transit to ensure that cargo is adequately secured, make any required adjustments, and add more securing devices if necessary.
How Our Attorneys Can Help in Truck Accidents from Improper Loading
Motor vehicle crashes caused by improperly secured loads can result in the loss of life, devastating injuries, and significant property damage. If you or a loved have been injured in a load accident involving a commercial truck, the Houston trucking accident attorneys at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. can help.
For the past four decades, our team of skilled attorneys has helped truck accident victims across Texas obtain the maximum compensation possible for their injuries and we will zealously advocate on your behalf at every step of the legal process.
When you work with us, we will conduct a comprehensive investigation of your accident to identify who is responsible, collect and preserve evidence that will support your claim, and fight for the compensation you deserve. We have a successful track record of holding truck drivers and their employers accountable, which has earned us the respect of the legal community in Texas.
Call us today at 281-283-8500 to receive a free consultation and to find out how we can put our experience, knowledge, and resources to work for you.