If you suffered injuries in a truck accident because of overloaded, overweight, or imbalanced cargo, contact DeMayo Law Offices immediately. We know how to hold truck drivers and trucking companies liable for their careless actions.
Commercial trucks, such as tractor-trailers, transport consumer goods, hazardous materials, and heavy items. If the cargo isn’t secured properly or loaded within size and weight limits, it could shift or fall off the truck and cause a collision.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets standards that everyone in the trucking industry must comply with to ensure other people’s safety. Violating these standards could lead to severe accidents and injuries. DeMayo Law Offices will seek the justice and compensation you deserve so you can recover and move forward with your life. Call us at (704) 333-1000 for a free consultation.
Cargo Securement Rules for Commercial Trucks
The FMCSA issued a set of rules for all large trucks engaging in interstate commerce. These cargo securement rules intend to reduce the risk of accidents due to cargo that falls off or shifts during transport.
All parts and systems utilized for cargo securement must be free of defects and function as intended. Manufacturing standards should also apply to every tie-down, such as chains, strapping, webbing, wire rope, steel, and cordage.
Anyone responsible for loading cargo onto the back of a truck must secure the tie-downs in a way that prevents them from opening, releasing, loosening, or unfastening during transport. There should also be edge protection that prevents cutting or abrasion if any item could come in direct contact with a tie-down. Loads must always stay inboard if the trailer has rub rails.
The number of tie-downs used for each item depends on the weight and length of the cargo on the trailer:
- 1 tie-down for cargo no more than 5 feet or 1,100 pounds
- 2 tie-downs for cargo no more than 5 feet and over 1,100 pounds
- 2 tie-downs for cargo between 5 and 10 feet
- 2 tie-downs for cargo larger than 10 feet and one tie-down for each additional 10 feet
Cargo should not fall off the truck or shift if the driver speeds up or slows down in any direction. Loading should be completed in a way that meets the acceleration and deceleration forces below:
- 0.8 g deceleration forward
- 0.5 g acceleration rearward
- 0.5 g acceleration laterally
Applicable Vehicles and Cargo
Cargo securement rules apply to commercial trucks carrying any type of cargo, except those that lack a fixed structure or shape, such as liquids, gases, and sand. Commercial trucks are vehicles that contain a hopper, box, tank, or another device as part of the overall structure.
Common Types of Truck Accidents Caused By Poorly Loaded Cargo
When cargo exceeds weight limits or isn’t loaded evenly on the back of a truck, unsecured items could fly off or shift and cause uneven weight distribution resulting in a crash. The driver is responsible for operating a massive vehicle and needs to be in full control at all times. If the cargo isn’t loaded correctly in any way, they could lose control and cause serious injury to another driver.
The most common types of truck accidents that can occur if cargo is imbalanced, overweight, or overloaded are:
- Jackknife – A truck jackknifes when the front cab and trailer fold into each other at an angle. If cargo exceeds weight limits or the weight isn’t distributed evenly, the momentum of a shift could throw the whole vehicle off-balance.
- Rollover – If the driver has to maneuver quickly and the cargo shifts to one side, the trailer wheels could lift off the ground, causing the entire vehicle to tilt onto its side.
- Tire blowout – Weight limits are necessary to prevent putting more pressure on the tires than they can handle. One or more tires could explode from an overloaded or overweight trailer, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle.
- Hazardous materials – Drivers must store and transport toxic or flammable substances securely and safely. If the cargo is above weight limits or not distributed evenly on the back of the truck, a crash could cause a fire or explosion.
- Lost load – Cargo could shift if the securement systems are defective or an inadequate number of tie-downs are used. If items fall out of the trailer, other drivers might not have enough time to avoid crashing or running over the loose items.
Who Is Liable for Overloaded, Overweight, or Imbalanced Cargo?
There is a fault system in North Carolina that holds the person who causes an accident financially responsible for the victim’s injuries and associated losses. Various parties could be liable for improperly loaded cargo.
Truck drivers that load the back of a truck must ensure they use proper tie-downs, don’t exceed weight or size limits, and keep all items evenly distributed. They could be liable if an accident occurs for any of the following reasons:
- Knowingly using tie-downs that are defective, worn out, damaged, or ineffective.
- Failing to securely close and lock the trailer doors.
- Driving recklessly with an unsecured load.
- Loading cargo above size or weight limits.
- Failing to inspect the truck’s stability during transport.
Trucking companies must always follow FMCSA regulations and ensure they hire employees who are aware of these rules and follow them explicitly. They could be liable for any of the following reasons:
- Failing to provide training to drivers.
- Hiring new employees without performing adequate background checks and verifying licensing, experience, and qualifications.
- Neglecting maintenance and repairs on securement systems.
- Failing to communicate the standards for loading cargo on trucks.
DeMayo Law Offices can investigate your case and determine who was at fault for the crash. We will help you pursue compensation from the at-fault party to cover your past and future medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses you incurred.
Why Choose DeMayo Law Offices?
When you drive safely and follow all traffic laws, you should not suffer the consequences of another person’s actions if an accident occurs. Our team of compassionate and dedicated attorneys has over 150 years of combined experience representing victims like you in their legal cases. We will use our extensive resources and knowledge to seek justice and help you recover from this stressful ordeal.