Big Truck Cargo Shifts Can Cause Big Wrecks

While large trucks hauling our goods are an essential component of our national economy, some of the cargo being transported is at risk for “shifting.” According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, (NHTSA) “cargo shifting” is listed as one of the leading “critical events” that can cause an accident. This shifting can cause a truck to swerve abruptly across lanes, jackknife, or roll over. Cargo can spill across lanes and cause vehicle crashes and/or harm pedestrians. Potentially, hazardous material can spill across the highway and adjacent lands and cause property or environmental harm, or even personal injury. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) addresses the issue of potential cargo spills by implementing security rules that establish load limits and standards for securing, blocking and bracing cargo. Imposed Standards Include:

  • Performance requirements—cargo securement must withstand braking
  • Placement and restraints of cargo
  • Minimum and proper use of tie-downs
  • Regulations on unrated and unmarked anchor points

The FMCSA rules require drivers to continually and frequently inspect cargo throughout each trip. Ensuring that cargo is secure and withstanding the elements of the trip minimizes the likelihood of dangerous shifting and/or spills. Cargo spills as a result of poor inspections, improperly secured cargo, or improper employee supervision may result in the driver or company being held liable for damages. If you witness a cargo spill or experience a crash as a result of a cargo spill, be sure to report the incident to authorities immediately. If you are injured in an accident as a result of a cargo spill, our attorneys at Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys are available for a free consultation.