There are many problems that can arise when it comes to tractor trailers and their potential for roadside accidents. One of the most subversive problems can arise when it comes to loads and the problem of them falling off of tractor trailers. The nature of falling loads, especially unsecured loads, can be extremely detrimental, not only causing accidents, but also causing injuries, fatalities, harm to the environment when it comes to the transport of hazardous materials, as well as monetary damages.
According to a 2012 Government Accountability Office Study mandated by Congress, as presented by the Department of Justice, in 2010 alone unsecured loads and road debris, whether from large-scale trucks or commercial vehicles, resulted in 10,000 injuries and more than 51,000 incidents. More startling, the research also notes that the same incidents caused approximately 440 deaths.
Overall, just 15 states, as of 2010, had some type of laws or criminal penalties that dealt with drivers that operated with an unsecured load. In addition, only 10 states, as of 2010, had some type of education program that related to unsecured loads.
In addition, this kind of problem also occurs on the local level, especially when it comes to tractor trailers and other large trucks.
According to the CBS Dallas Fort Worth affiliate, one such incident happened on the westbound Interstate-35E just two years ago. According to the report, a traffic accident involving a tractor trailer and a heavy equipment vehicle occurred, which then closed all southbound lanes. While it is easy to think that this incident is an isolated one, the research actually indicates that this accident occurred just after an accident involving another 18-wheeler.
In this case the drilling rig the truck was towing fell under the westbound 1-30 bridge. If the accident was bad enough in itself, one must also take in the fact that a great deal of fuel was spilled onto the freeway as a result, considerably damaging the road. Despite the fact that crews immediately began to clean up the hazardous material, the freeway still had to be closed and the potential for both environmental harm, as well as monetary loss, is always a relevant consideration.
In addition, as noted by the United States Department of Justice, “at 55 miles per hour, an object weight just 20 ounces that falls from a vehicle strikes with the impact of half a ton.” As one can imagine, this can be an extremely dangerous scenario when it comes to the kind of materials that large trucks haul.
As outlined in the previously mentioned cases, although it can thankfully not include loss of life, these accidents can still be especially damaging to the city itself and to the natural environment. As noted by the U.S. Department of Justice, “Drivers need to think about safety first by securing all loads and by reporting drivers who do not.”
It is essential that everyone does his or her part in order to prevent the dangerous situation of unsecured loads, especially in large trucks, from occurring.