Causes of Truck Accidents: Unsecure Cargo
Understanding Missouri Law & Injury Liability
The American Automobile Association conducted a survey in 2004 with the astonishing result that more than 25,000 motor vehicle accidents are caused by unsecured cargo every year. Even small items can cause serious accidents if they fly off and hit an automobile roof, strike another vehicle in the windshield, or land in the lane in front of oncoming traffic, but the typical cargo carried on many 18-wheelers and flatbed trucks is much larger and far more dangerous. Semi-trucks frequently carry loads such as lumber, logs, boulders, metal coils, concrete pipes, and massive industrial machinery and equipment, and when cargo of this type falls off the truck, the result can be disastrous for others on the road.
Federal Regulations for Securing Truck Cargo
The Driver's Handbook on Cargo Securement, published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), states that cargo must be secured in such a way that it will stay in place "under all conditions that could reasonably be expected to occur in normal driving." This includes high winds, braking, accelerating, and cornering. The cargo must also be able to remain secure when the driver is making maneuvers to avoid an emergency. If a load is not properly secured, then the driver or the trucking company may be issued fines and the vehicle may even be placed out of service. The FMCSA regulations require that the load be secured to the point that it will not leak, spill, blow off the vehicle, fall from the vehicle, fall through the vehicle, or shift upon or within the vehicle to such an extent that it will affect the vehicle's stability or maneuverability.
How is truck cargo fully secured?
In order to meet the requirements for the cargo to be fully contained, the straps, chains, or other fastenings must be able to withstand at least 80% of the full cargo weight when braking during forward travel; 50% of the weight when turning, accelerating, climbing a hill, or braking in reverse; and 20% of the weight when cresting a hill or crossing over a bump. For example, if the load weighs 40,000 pounds, then the straps must be able to stand up to forces of 20,000 pounds when the truck makes a turn.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving an unsecured truck load, then we encourage you to come to Meyerkord & Meyerkord for help. Our truck accident attorneys in Missouri have won more than $350 million in verdicts and settlements for clients from all walks of life, and we are ready to fight for your right to fair compensation. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, either the driver or the trucking company may be responsible — in either case, we want to help you claim damages and secure justice.