A fully loaded tractor-trailer may be hauling 45,000 lbs. or more of cargo.
For obvious reasons, it’s important that this cargo be loaded properly.
Otherwise, a cargo shift could cause the vehicle to become imbalanced, leading to a serious accident. Another disastrous consequence of improperly loaded cargo is when a portion of the load is lost from the truck, which can hit another vehicle or create a dangerous barrier in the roadway.
The Swanson Law Group: We fight for fair compensation
Our experienced San Jose truck accident lawyers at The Swanson Law Group will help you pursue the compensation you deserve after serious injuries caused by improper loading of a large commercial truck. We can handle your claim or lawsuit to recover damages for your medical bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other losses. We are caring, supportive, empathetic, service-oriented, and health-conscious toward our clients. To the insurance companies, on the other hand, we are relentless, dangerous, strategic, and unstoppable.
How can shifting cargo cause truck accidents in San Jose?
Cargo shifts are a leading cause of truck accidents. In the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, the relative risk for vehicle cargo shifts was determined to be 56.3%. This is higher than any other factor associated with large truck crashes, as reported in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) analysis brief. Improperly loaded cargo can shift during a trip, leading to truck accidents that can be deadly for anyone in the vicinity. Cargo shifts can cause:
- Rollovers when the cargo shifts to one side of the vehicle
- Jackknifing when uneven load distribution causes the trailer to swing out from the tractor in an L or V shape
What happens when a big rig loses part of its load?
Another danger of improperly loaded cargo is the risk of losing part of the load off the truck. Cargo that is improperly secured can fall off the back of the truck and onto the roadway. This can cause a serious accident for other drivers. Flying cargo can be flung off the truck at a high rate of speed, hitting other vehicles and creating a risk of injury or death for other motorists.
What cargo loading mistakes can lead to accidents?
Procedures for loading cargo to reduce the risk of accidents have been detailed by FMCSA. Oversights and errors in loading cargo on large commercial trucks include:
- Distributing cargo unevenly
- Distributing weight of cargo with a high center of gravity
- Using the wrong size or wrong strength of tie-downs
- Using worn or defective tie-downs
- Not using enough tie-downs to secure the load
- Overloading or underloading the trailer
- Improper blocking and bracing of cargo
- Failing to place protection around sharper edges that could cut into tie-downs
- Improperly covering cargo
- Failing to use header boards to prevent spills during stops or accidents
- Obstructing the driver’s view with the load
- Failing to check the work of others when cargo has been loaded
Who is responsible for truck accidents caused by improperly loaded cargo?
If you have been injured in a truck accident caused by improper cargo loading, our truck accident attorneys can investigate to determine fault and liability. Loading of cargo may have been done by one or more freight handlers at various locations. Ultimately, the responsibility for ensuring the cargo is properly loaded before the trip begins rests with the driver.
Under federal regulations, truck drivers are required to inspect cargo and its securement:
- Before the trip
- During the first 50 miles
- At the beginning of every driving period
- At 150-mile or three-hour intervals