We share our Houston roadways with millions of trucks. According to the United States Department of Transportation, there are over 12.5 million commercial trucks registered in the U.S. While we need trucks to transport our goods across the country, sometimes trucks can be dangerous. Big rigs can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when loaded, making them difficult to control. The cargo they carry can cause or contribute to 18-wheeler accidents when it is not properly secured.
How Improperly Secured Cargo Contributes to Accidents
There are several ways cargo can cause or contribute to crashes. Cargo can shift during transport if the driver does not secure the load. Cargo can shift suddenly if the truck makes a quick turn or maneuver, such as an abrupt stop or lane change. Cargo not secured properly on an open vehicle can come off and fall into traffic, harming motorists. When cargo shifts quickly, the driver has little control over the truck. When this occurs, the truck can jackknife. Jackknife accidents happen when the truck’s cab and trailer go in opposite directions. Jackknife trucks are hazardous to other drivers on the road.
Requirements for Cargo Securement
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has requirements in place that govern cargo securement. Truck drivers and owners must use the proper procedures to ensure that they secure their cargo appropriately before they get on the road. The purpose of the cargo securement rules is to ensure the safety of the drivers and other motorists when they transport materials on the roads. The rules are extensive and detail the specific ways that various cargo must be secured for transport.
The FMCSA tested various materials that can be utilized for tie-downs. They require the proper materials to be used so the tie-downs do not break due to friction or other factors. The tie-downs must meet the minimum standards and they need to withstand forces in all directions, not simply forward movement. Cargo that becomes loose can cause a truck to go out of control because of a shift in weight. Even experienced drivers may not control the force at which a truck veers in another direction due to shifting cargo.
Cargo Falling Onto Roads
Cargo can fall off of open trucks if it does not have the properly secured tie-downs. Many trucks have lost their loads on busy highways and at high rates of speed. Other vehicles cannot quickly get out of the way of falling or rolling materials, some of which are large and heavy. Long cargo, such as wood or metal poles, can become airborne and act like javelins to pierce other vehicles on the road. Injuries from falling cargo can be severe.
If you were hurt in a truck accident due to shifting or falling cargo, you may be owed money for your injuries. You may have compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages if you could not work, and money for pain and suffering.
Contact Attorney Baumgartner for a free initial consultation to discuss your injury claim.