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Truck Accidents - Improper Loading of Cargo

Robert Karns

When cargo is improperly loaded on a large tractor trailer there is a significant danger that there will be a truck accident.

Statistics of the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that cargo shifting because it is improperly loaded causes a significant amount of truck crashes resulting in injuries to innocent parties driving on the roadway in much smaller passenger vehicles.

Load shifting, because it is improperly loaded, can cause the truck driver to lose control of the truck causing the truck to overturn causing injury to the occupants of the vehicle it strikes. If the load is not enclosed in a trailer, but in an open flat bed and it is improperly loaded it can cause the load to fall off of the flat bed trailer striking other vehicles causing personal injury.

The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration under section 392.9 calls for the inspection of cargo, cargo securement devices and systems. The purpose of this regulation is to make certain that cargo is loaded safely and securely so it cannot shift and cause a severe accident injuring innocent occupants of smaller vehicles.

Shifting of cargo inside a large trailer when the cargo is not loaded properly can occur when the driver of the tractor trailer takes a curve too fast or abruptly, stops and starts suddenly, uses excessive speed or drives over poor road surfaces - all of this will help erode load securement. The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration requires drivers to check the load after driving 50 miles and then after each 150 miles into the trip, if practical.

Loaded large tractor trailer trucks can weigh more than 80,000lbs and can measure 8ft 6in wide and 65 ft long and 14 ft high and are extremely dangerous when not loaded properly.

When a load shifts as it has not been loaded properly the center of gravity of the trailer changes and this can lead to the tractor trailer rolling over striking smaller vehicles causing personal injuries to the occupants of the smaller vehicles.

When injuries occur as a result of these types of truck accidents there may be many parties liable to the injured victims for the failure to load the tractor trailer properly.

The employees of the shipper that load the trailer can make the shipper liable by not securing the load properly. Thereafter, the truck driver may be liable for not checking how the cargo was loaded and for not doing periodic checks as required by the federal regulations.

The trucking company would, in that case, also be liable for not properly training the truck driver. Lastly, whoever hired the trucking company to move the cargo may be liable for the negligent hiring of the trucking company.


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If you or your loved one suffered severe, life-altering injuries due to someone else’s negligence, we are here to help you fight for justice. For answers to your questions or to schedule a free consultation, contact our personal injury team at (888) 281-3100. We offer our legal services on a contingency fee basis, meaning you only pay attorneys’ fees after we have recovered compensation on your behalf.

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