How Unsecured Cargo Destabilizes Big Rigs
Large commercial trucks haul goods in and out of Florida, filling our freeways and interstate highways. These trucks can weigh, at a maximum, 80,000 pounds, and weigh stations are set up along highways to check that drivers do not exceed these limits. However, any amount of cargo can contribute to accidents if it is not loaded properly. This cargo can quickly destabilize a truck, causing a driver to lose control and leading directly to accidents.
If you’ve been injured in a truck crash, improperly secured cargo might be to blame. Meet with an attorney to discuss whether you can receive compensation in a settlement or lawsuit.
Truck Accidents Caused by Shifting Cargo
Government authorities have set cargo limits for tractor-trailers for one simple reason: trucks take longer to stop even after the driver has hit the brakes. The heavier the cargo, the longer it will take the truck to stop.
Any sudden braking can also cause cargo to shift, which will unbalance a truck and lead to:
- Jackknife accidents. The trailer can swing out in a perpendicular angle and swipe all vehicles in adjacent lanes.
- Cargo spills. Cargo can come flying out of the trailer and strike vehicles and pedestrians. The cargo littering the road is also a hazard, as other vehicles might strike it or swerve and end up pinballing off other cars as they try to dodge the debris.
- Cargo that shifts suddenly can change the center of gravity for the vehicle and cause it to turn over. Overturn accidents often happen when the driver tries to brake or take a turn. The trailer can crush any vehicle in adjoining lanes.
Any one of these accidents can lead to fatalities and catastrophic injuries like crushed limbs, amputations, paralysis, and brain injury.
Properly Securing Cargo
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has primary responsibility for regulating the trucking industry in the United States. This agency also sets rules for securing cargo, and the FMCSA has updated them recently. Truck drivers and trucking companies should be aware of and follow the most recent rules, as well as any rules that the agency creates in the future.
Generally, the agency requires that cargo be secured by articles that are sufficiently strong. Truckers can use tiedowns and dunnage bags as well as shoring bars. For example, federal regulations set the location and number of tiedown anchor points. If cargo is susceptible to rolling, then wedges, chocks, or other equipment must be used so that the cargo does not come loose.
Trucking Accident Attorney in Volusia County
Truck accidents happen all too frequently on Florida’s roads. If you’ve been injured, contact us as soon as possible. Bundza & Rodriguez is a leading Volusia County personal injury law firm, and we can help you obtain compensation for your injuries.
Realize that trucking companies are working right away to investigate any crash, and you need someone to look out for your rights. We can. You can call us today at 386-252-5170 to schedule a free, confidential initial consultation.