Improperly Loaded Cargo Proven as a Leading Cause of Truck Accidents

TruckThe cargo on the back of a semi truck can weigh tens of thousands of pounds. If loaded improperly, the load can come crashing down off of the vehicle; or, it can cause an imbalance in the center of gravity of the truck causing it to tip, jackknife, or crash.

Tractor-trailers weigh 80,000 pounds at maximum weight, and can bepotentially fatal to any other driver if involved in a collision. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), only 4 percent of all truck accidents are cargo-related, which places it within the top 10 causes of semi accidents. However, improperly loaded cargo currently has the highest percentage of relative risk at 56.3 percent. Therefore, even though 4 percent does not seem significant, it almost certainly causes destruction when the shipment does shift.

The Hidden Dangers

Cargo-carrying trucks have specific rules that must followed and were set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in 2004. The Cargo Securement Rules state that all loads must be “firmly immobilized or secured” by utilizing tie downs, shoring bars, or another structure of adequate strength. Drivers must also use an appropriate amount of tie downs for the length and weight of their specific load. Failure to adhere to these guidelines may result in:

  • Loss of control of the vehicle;
  • Rollover accidents; or
  • Road spills.
Common Loading Mistakes

The FMCSA produced an entire book detailing the methods operators should follow to reduce the risk of cargo-related accidents. Occasionally, the equipment used for securing is defective and can have little to nothing to do with the driver of the vehicle, depending on the circumstances. However, in most cases, the CDL holder is lackadaisical and negligent in his or her loading practices, thus putting other drivers and their passengers at risk.

Common loading oversights include:

  • Utilizing the incorrect size and strength tie-down;
  • Using worn out tie-downs;
  • Having uneven cargo distribution;
  • Loading over the legal limits;
  • Obstructing the driver’s view with the load;
  • Improper blocking and bracing; and
  • Failing to verify the loading work of others.
We Understand the Importance of Cargo Safety

At Cerri, Boskovich & Allard, our attorneys understand the importance of adequately loading cargo on a tractor trailer. We have seen first hand the long-lasting devastation truck driver negligence causes victims and their families. If you or a loved one sustained injuries during a truck accident, San Jose truck accident lawyers can help you earn maximum compensation for your case. Explore the options of how we can assist you by scheduling your free case review. Call us at (408) 289-1417 today.

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