Thousands of people get injured in truck accidents every year, and one of the leading causes of these accidents is improper loading. Larger vehicles, such as commercial trucks, are already dangerous for smaller vehicles and pedestrians on the road, but a truck loaded with cargo can be even more dangerous. Victims of truck accidents can sustain life-threatening injuries because of inadequately secured cargo. If you have been in such an accident in or near Augusta, GA, consider hiring an experienced Augusta truck accident lawyer to get compensation for your suffering.
Dangers of Improper Loading
One of the leading causes of improper loading is inadequate employee training. When the trucking company employees or whoever is in charge of loading the freight does not have proper knowledge of how to load a truck and how much weight the vehicle can safely carry, it can lead to a serious truck accident.
Typically, there is a maximum legal limit for cargo; if it exceeds that limit, it can lead to a truck accident. The most common problem truckers face when carrying an excess amount of freight is maneuvering the truck or slowing down in time to avoid a collision. Slowing down requires more distance for heavier vehicles.
In some cases, while the load may not be as heavy, unequal distribution across the truck bed can cause the truck to wobble or swerve on the road. Therefore, people in charge of loading trucks should get proper training regarding load distribution and securing the load on the truck bed.
Packing a smaller truck with excess merchandise can obstruct the rear-end view for the driver making them unable to keep a safe distance from the vehicle behind them and avoid a collision. In addition, any worn out, loose, or fragile materials used as a tie-down for the cargo can cause the load to break free and hit any vehicles coming from behind or slide across the truck bed and disrupt the weight and balance of the truck.
Common Accidents Due to Improve Loading
A jackknife accident is when a trucker loses control of the vehicle, and the front part of the truck and its trailer go in opposite directions, forming either a V or an L shape. These accidents can be caused by improper loading, such as continuously shifting cargo or a heavier weight than the truck can sustain. In addition, a jackknife accident can become a significant obstacle for all other vehicles on the road, and there is an increased risk of the truck or trailer colliding with another vehicle.
Excessive or imbalanced loads on a truck can cause it to roll over, leading to severe injuries or death. It can also lead to a pileup of other vehicles on the road.
This typically happens when a truck carrying an increased or imbalanced load is going downhill and loses control over its speed. As a result, vehicles directly in the path of the incoming truck can be at risk of a dangerous collision.
When a truck is overloaded with cargo, it can put excessive pressure on the tires and cause them to blow out. Sudden tire blowouts can cause the truck driver to lose control of the vehicle and threaten the safety of other vehicles and road users.
A common result of an improperly secured weight is loss of cargo. In addition, when the loader does not properly secure the load, it can be at risk of falling off the trailer and colliding with the vehicles traveling behind the truck.
Federal Guidelines on Cargo Loads
The FMCSA (Federal Motors Carrier Safety Administration) imposes the following rules regarding securing the load on a truck.
- All truck drivers must check the load for loose ends after the first 50 miles traveled.
- Drivers should do a subsequent inspection after the next 150 miles traveled. This is especially mandatory when a trucker is carrying containers filled with liquids.
- Truckloads should be tied with steel straps, webbing, and additional fasteners.
- Empty spaces between the cargo and the truck should be filled with inflatable bags to prevent the cargo from shifting within the trailer.
Who Can be Held Responsible for Improper Loading?
Any party whose negligence contributed to the improper loading can be held liable for the accident. For instance, the truck driver can be responsible if they do not report improper loading and continue to drive the truck.
Additionally, workers or managers who loaded the cargo or supervised the process and failed to follow protocol and safety guidelines can be liable for the accident. In some cases, a third party is responsible for loading and unloading and can be held liable for the accident.
It can be challenging to determine who is at fault for the accident. You should hire an Augusta personal injury lawyer to get maximum compensation for your suffering. You are welcome to contact us at T. Madden & Associates, P.C. We can guide you through each step of the legal process, including gathering evidence, negotiating a settlement with the opposing party, and preparing for trial.