Truckers Are Responsible for Safely Securing Their Loads

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Truckers Are Responsible for Safely Securing Their Loads

Trucking companies and truck drivers are responsible for safely securing truckloads on every single leg of every single trip. When they fail to do so, deadly truck accidents can be the result.

The Devastating Impact that Improper Loading Can Have

The rules that guide the safe loading of big rigs are based on physics. When these rules are not followed, the effects can directly cause or contribute to severe accidents. Improper loading can have all of the following outcomes:

  • The shifting can damage the cargo itself.

  • The shifting can lead to uneven weight distribution, which can cause or exacerbate dangerous accidents.

  • When loading is side- or top-heavy, it can lead to deadly rollovers.

  • Improperly loaded cargo can spill onto the road, wreaking havoc in the process.

Cargo Rules

The effects of insufficiently secured or poorly secured cargo are so serious that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) maintains highly specific rules and restrictions that govern the trucking industry. Generally, all cargo must be secured on or within the truck via a combination of the following mechanisms (as applicable):

  • Structures that are of adequate strength for the job at hand

  • Shoring bars

  • Dunnage, loose materials that help support and protect cargo, or dunnage bags, inflatable bags that fill the empty spaces between articles of cargo or between the freight itself and the rig's walls

  • Tie-downs

Further, any cargo that is likely to roll must be specifically addressed via reliable wedges, chocks, or cradles.

Tie-Down Minimums

When articles of cargo are not blocked or securely positioned in a manner that prevents movement, there are specific requirements related to the number of tie-downs that must be used, including:

  • If the articles of cargo are less than 5 feet in length and do not weigh more than 1,100 pounds, 1 tie-down is required.

  • If the articles of cargo are less than 5 feet in length and weigh more than 1,100 pounds, 2 tie-downs are required.

  • If the articles of cargo are between 5 feet and 10 feet in length, regardless of weight, 2 tie-downs are required.

The Relative Risk

FMCSA further shares that out of a laundry list of risk-rankings associated with dangerous trucking practices, the relative risk associated with cargo shift is by far the highest. Consider all of the following by way of comparison:

  • The relative risk associated with driving too fast for the conditions on the ground is 7.7.

  • The relative risk associated with following too closely is 22.6

  • The relative risk associated with engaging in illegal driving maneuvers is 26.4.

The relative risk associated with cargo shifts, however, is 56.3, and this stark increase in rank should not be ignored.

Do Not Delay Consulting with an Experienced Killeen Personal Injury Attorney

Unsafe cargo-loading practices often contribute to or cause serious truck accidents. If you have been injured because of such an accident, attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is committed to skillfully advocating for your claim's best outcome. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at 254-501-4040 today.

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