Commercial trucks are a frequent sight on Virginia’s highways and roadways. These oversized shipping trucks serve several purposes. Some companies use these trucks to transport materials to and from work zones and construction sites. Other companies hire them to deliver their products to customers’ homes. Commercial trucks are also commonly used for hauling hazardous materials, like gas and oil.
How do trucking companies ensure their cargo doesn’t fall during transport?
As we all learned firsthand during the pandemic, commercial trucks are a vital part of our economy and absolutely indispensable when it comes to getting goods and supplies where they need to go. Unfortunately, they also present a very real danger to other drivers. An inexperienced or improperly trained operator or a negligent motor carrier could load freight without the proper securement systems in place. Once on the back of the truck, these loose items can move, throwing the whole truck off balance, or fall off the back, creating a serious road hazard for other vehicles.
If you were hurt in a commercial truck accident caused by unsecured cargo, we urge you to meet with a Virginia truck accident lawyer from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp. We offer free initial consultations to all prospective clients
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has instituted numerous regulations regarding commercial trucks and their freight, such as guidelines for size and weight limits as well as securement devices that are designed to prevent serious accidents and keep people safe on the roadways. Regrettably, a lot of truck operators and trucking companies ignore federal regulations, causing an increased risk of accidents involving other vehicles.
Federal Cargo Securement Regulations
FMCSA cargo securement regulations require that all systems, structures, and parts that are used to secure freight be undamaged, free of defects, and function properly. The tie-downs used by motor carriers, such as cordage, strapping, webbing, steel, wire rope, and chains, are required to satisfy strict manufacturing standards.
Any person who loads freight onto a truck is required to use an appropriate number of tie-downs and make sure they are secure to prevent unfastening, loosening, opening, or releasing during transport. Edge protection is mandatory if the possibility exists for an item to come in contact with a tie-down in order to avoid cutting or abrasion.
Further regulations governing the number of tie-downs depend on the weight and length of each item. These include:
- Two tie-downs for the first 10 feet and one for every additional 10 feet
- Two tie-downs for any item between 5 and ten feet
- Two tie-downs for any item less than 5 feet and more than 1,100 pounds
- One tie-down for any item less than 5 feet and not over 1,100 pounds
Who Is Liable for an Unsecured Load Truck Accident?
Properly securing freight on a truck stops it from shifting around and falling over while it is transported to its destination. If the cargo shifts in the trailer, the vehicle’s weight distribution will be uneven, making it difficult for the driver to steer and maintain control of the truck.
Items that are not tied down could fly off the trailer and become destructive hazards or projectiles to other drivers in the area. Drivers may have to brake suddenly or swerve around large or heavy or large items that fall into their path.
A lot of people think the truck operator is automatically at fault for an accident since they are the ones behind the wheel. Following this, it is reasonable to assume they would then be liable for the victim’s injuries and other damages. It is possible, however, for the motor carrier or another person or entity to be liable or share in liability for a truck accident involving an unsecured load.
Some potential parties that could be responsible for an unsecured load accident are:
- The truck operator
- The trucking company
- The cargo loading company
- An employee who loaded the truck
- The manufacturer of a defective securement system
Speak With a Virginia Truck Accident Attorney Today
After being injured in an unsecured load accident, you are entitled to bring a personal injury suit to hold the negligent person accountable for their actions. You could be eligible to collect financial compensation for your hospital bills, lost earnings, and other damages. Don’t delay in seeking experienced legal representation after a commercial truck accident.
The legal team of Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp, fights for injured clients in Virginia. We have been defending personal injury clients since 1985. You can rely on our professional Virginia truck accident lawyers to secure the financial compensation you deserve. Schedule your free consultation today by calling (833) 997-1774.