Commercial trucks like 18-wheelers, tanker trucks, and box trucks may carry extremely heavy and / or hazardous cargo. The manner in which this cargo is secured and balanced may have a direct impact on a driver's ability to maneuver the vehicle and may therefore influence the likelihood of an accident. If cargo is improperly loaded and secured, the truck's brakes, steering, and suspension systems may not operate properly or may fail entirely. Improperly secured cargo can also fall off a truck and onto public roadways, which creates a hazard for everyone on the road.
Because secured cargo is crucial to public safety, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enforces specific guidelines that apply to cargo securement on commercial trucks based on careful studies of commercial motor vehicle performance. Issues such as deceleration and acceleration rates have been closely analyzed to determine optimal securement procedures using specific devices and systems. These standards apply to tie downs, anchor points, steel strapping, ropes, chains, synthetic webbing, and cords.
These devices must be used properly and must be in working order if they are to keep cargo from shifting during transport. The FMCSA specifically states cargo should be effectively secured on or inside a vehicle by two key methods: fastening with sufficiently strong equipment and dunnage to fill empty space and protect cargo.
Improperly secured cargo can present two serious hazards:
- It may shift during transport. When cargo shifts, it can leave a truck seriously out of balance, and this can affect steering and braking. It can make a truck more prone to jackknifing or rolling over, even in normally safe situations. If a truck driver is faced with an emergency maneuver while driving an unbalanced truck, the changes of him or her losing control are far greater.
- It may come loose and actually fall from or out of a flatbed truck during transport. Unsecured cargo can fall off of a truck, leaving a potentially deadly obstacle in the road. This is a particularly frightening situation, as another driver may have little to no chance of avoiding a collision when an object comes flying off a truck into their path.
A fully-loaded commercial truck may weigh 80,000 pounds or more with special oversized permits. If you were injured in an accident involving a large truck and believe that a violation of federal trucking regulations or act of negligence may have been to blame, call The Daspit Law Firm immediately. Our firm handles truck accident claims and lawsuits in Houston and throughout Texas.
In addition to facing fines and possible closure or license suspension, trucking companies or drivers who commit violations of trucking regulations may be held responsible in civil court. This is where our firm comes in. We can seek financial compensation for injuries caused by a truck accident, to cover medical bills, continued treatment, lost wages, lost future earnings, property damage, and even non-economic losses like emotional trauma and pain and suffering.
Holding a trucking company, loading company or truck driver responsible for negligent cargo loading or securement can be difficult. Fortunately, our Houston personal injury lawyers have the knowledge, experience and resources to investigate these cases and build compelling evidence against at-fault parties. Call our offices today for a free consultation and review of your case.