Big rigs are designed to transport huge amounts of cargo long distances. There are many parties involved in the safe transport of the cargo, and a single act of negligence could prove harmful or fatal – especially if the truck is carrying hazardous cargo. There are many regulations regarding cargo trucks, and failure to comply with these regulations and exercise caution while driving are two main factors in serious truck accidents.
Some of the common hazards caused by truck cargo include:
- shifting loads causing trucks to tip over or jackknife;
- cargo coming loose and falling into the road; and
- hazardous cargo causing illness or explosions.
Responsibility to Ensure Safe Transport of Cargo
There are several parties involved in the safe and secure loading of cargo. The shipping company must ensure workers load the cargo truck properly at the transport facility. Trucking companies must also properly maintain their vehicles and perform any repairs to loading and cargo securing mechanisms before the truck makes another delivery.
The truck driver is primarily responsible for verifying that cargo is secure and ready to transport before leaving the facility. Once on the road, the driver must continue to check the load to make sure nothing has come loose or shifted that could potentially fall off and strike nearby vehicles. Shifted loads can also cause an imbalance that could result in a tipped truck or jackknife accident.
Improperly Loaded Cargo Can Cause Road Hazards
When cargo is not properly secured and falls from the truck it can create several hazardous conditions. First the cargo can strike nearby vehicles, causing direct damage to the vehicle and its passengers. For example, if a truck carrying cargo through Delaware, OH loses a large home appliance onto Columbus Pike, it can create a serious accident if another vehicle strikes it.
Additionally, the cargo can fall into the road, creating a hazard that your vehicle or nearby vehicles must swerve to avoid. This can cause cars to crash into each other. So even though the cargo never comes in contact with your vehicle it is still able to cause an accident.
For example, if vehicles are able to swerve out of the way to avoid hitting the home appliance mentioned in the example above, they may swerve into adjacent lanes, striking other vehicles.
Hazardous Cargo Poses Additional Risk
Drivers who transport hazardous materials must carry special certifications and drive an approved vehicle. The U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has found that cargo trucks carrying hazmat cargo were involved in approximately 6,000 non-fatal crashes per year between 1996 and 2000.
Crashes with a truck carrying hazardous cargo such as gasoline or chemicals pose more than just blunt trauma danger to the vehicle occupants. If the cargo was not properly transported, or the crash was severe enough to damage the safety measures of the special hazmat trucks, an additional risk of exposure to hazardous materials may add to the severity of the crash.
Injury Claims for Truck Accidents in Delaware, OH: We Have You Covered
Trucking accidents are a serious matter and not all personal injury attorneys are prepared to handle these unique cases. Attorney David Bressman is a member of the Association of Plaintiff Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America, an organization dedicated to resolving claims against the big trucking companies. Contact Bressman Law to schedule a free consultation regarding your rights to file a claim against negligent drivers and trucking companies. Call today: (877) 538-1116.