Semi-truck cargo can weigh tens of thousands of pounds, and that’s not including the weight of the tractor-trailer itself. If said cargo is loaded improperly, the load can come crashing off the vehicle, causing a major accident. Or the cargo can cause an imbalance in the truck, causing the driver to lose control or the trailer to tip over and potentially harm others.
If a tractor-trailer is packed to its maximum weight, that 80,000 pounds can cause serious damage when improperly loaded. When involved in an accident, the weight alone is enough to cause a potentially fatal crash. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that only 4% of all truck accidents are cargo-related, but that’s more than enough for it to be one of the top 10 causes of semi accidents. Although, improperly loaded cargo carries the highest percentage of relative risk at 56.3%.
If you’ve been involved in a semi-truck accident, you could benefit from working with a truck accident attorney. Your AZ truck accident attorney can advocate on your behalf, investigate the details of your claim, and determine who’s responsible for your injuries. You should schedule a free consultation with Wattel & York to discuss maximizing your truck accident claim.
The Dangers of Improperly Loaded Cargo
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates cargo-carrying trucks with specific rules that must be followed. Cargo securement regulations state that all loads must be “firmly immobilized or secured” with tie downs, shoring bars, and other structures with the necessary strength to secure the load safely.
Failing to follow the FMCSA cargo-loading guidelines could cause:
- Loss of control of the vehicle
- Lost cargo
- Rollover incidents
- Road spills
Common Arizona Truck Loading Errors
Reducing the risk of cargo-related accidents is imperative to securing the load and protecting other drivers. When the equipment used for securing is defective, this can also cause serious accidents. Some of the most common cargo loading mishaps in Arizona include:
- Illegal loads over the limit
- Improper blocking and bracing
- Incorrectly sized or weak tie-downs
- Loads that obstruct the driver’s view
- Load verification failures
- Unevenly distributed cargo
- Worn-out and overused tie-downs
Consider speaking with a personal injury law specialist if you’ve been in a trucking accident because of truck loading errors. The truck accident law specialists at Wattel & York have experience negotiating and litigating claims just like yours. We can help you recover maximum compensation for your improperly loaded truck cargo accident.
Federal Cargo Regulations
Improperly loaded cargo will move or shift during transit, which can cause potentially fatal accidents. If a semi-truck driver isn’t careful, they can easily lose control of their vehicle. That’s why the FMCSA created comprehensive rules and regulations regarding how cargo should be secured.
The FMCSA stipulates that truck drivers should check their load every 50 miles initially and every 150 miles thereafter whenever possible. Liquids can be especially dangerous and will shift and move in transit while inside their containers.
Truck loads must be tied down with webbing, steel straps, and other types of fasteners. The FMCSA also encourages drivers to use inflatable bags to fill up empty spaces to keep commercial goods from sliding around in the trailer.
Cargo Loading Liability
Every person that interacts with a truck’s cargo can be held liable for accident injuries. This includes the truck’s driver but also includes every person and company that interacts with that truck’s load.
The trucking company for whom the driver works could be liable if that company failed to properly train the truck driver to secure the cargo properly. If other workers at the company helped the driver secure the load, then the trucking company may face some liability.
Any shipping company that hired the trucking company could also be held responsible if their employees prepare the shipment. The driver is still responsible for periodically checking the cargo and ensuring that it is secured; however, the people who initially loaded the goods may face liability if an accident occurs.
Improper, unsecured, unbalanced, and overweight loads can cause serious accidents. When the trailer is improperly loaded, it could mean that the weight of the cargo is not distributed evenly, the cargo is too heavy, which could affect the handling of the vehicle, or the cargo may not be secured properly, which could cause it to shift around while it is being transported. Any of these types of improper loading could end up causing an accident because they affect the truck’s handling.
That’s why it’s imperative to work with a truck accident law firm with experience handling these types of accidents. Wattel and York are standing by today for all your Arizona truck accident needs. Sit down with us for a no-obligation free consultation and discuss recovering full and fair compensation for your truck accident injuries now.