For safety precautions, the federal government imposes rules and regulations on truck drivers and trucking companies regarding the securing of cargo. Trucking companies have a legal responsibility to ensure cargo on their trucks is properly loaded and secured, and truck drivers have a responsibility to double-check their loads before hitting the road.
Materials Often Improperly Loaded
Large, heavy, bulky material, if not loaded and secured correctly, has deadly potential if it becomes dislodged. Some of the cargo that trucking company loaders might secure improperly include:
- large spools and containers;
- big drums;
- concrete and metal pipes; and
- logs and other lumber.
The sheer size, weight and rolling capacity of these items makes them an extreme danger to surrounding cars, bicyclists and pedestrians, and that’s why there are stringent rules on commercial truck cargo securement.
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Accidents Due to Poorly Secured Cargo
When cargo isn’t properly secured, it can easily become loose, break away and cause disasters on the roadway. The cargo may fly or roll off and collide with other cars, or it may fall off and cause cars to collide with each other or fixed objects in an attempt to avoid the material.
If the material on the truck is liquid and the containers are not sealed properly, the material may leak and cause cars to skid and collide.
Many of these types of accidents can be prevented when trucking companies and truck drivers follow federal cargo securement rules. If they don’t tie it down correctly, don’t use adequate securement equipment or fail to check the cargo’s security at the mandated intervals, devastating accidents can occur.
Federal Mandates for Securing Cargo
As mentioned, the federal government has rules in place that provide a protocol for how cargo is to be loaded and when drivers are supposed to conduct routine inspections to check the security of the load.
The U.S. DOT’s Driver’s Handbook on Cargo Securement states two important rules:
- The securement system chosen must be appropriate for the cargo’s size, shape, strength and characteristics.
- The articles of cargo must have sufficient structural integrity to withstand the forces of loading, securement and transportation.
The book then explains the specificities that trucking companies are expected to adhere to. Truck drivers need to do their part too. Among other directives, the Code of Federal Regulations § 392.9 says drivers have to:
- inspect the cargo within their first 50 miles on the road; and
- reexamine it every three hours or 150 miles.
Holding Trucking Companies Responsible for Accidents
When improperly secured cargo causes an accident, the trucking company might be legally liable for any resulting damages. Accident victims likely will be able to file a claim for financial compensation for their injuries.
There are a lot of steps to take when pursuing a truck accident claim, and it’s best to run your case by a local truck accident attorney to discuss the best way to proceed.
If you or a loved one were recently injured in a car accident, contact Bressman Law in Columbus. We can review the details of your accident, help uncover valuable evidence and pursue your claim. Call us today to schedule a free, no-obligation legal consultation in Columbus at (614) 538-1116.