Unsecure Truck Cargo a Leading Cause of Crashes
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Unsecure Truck Cargo a Leading Cause of Crashes

Big rig semi truckThousands of serious road accidents every year are attributed to truck cargo that is improperly secured. California drivers are accustomed to sharing the highway with commercial vehicles hauling heavy and potentially hazardous cargo. Whether transporting dressed lumber, metal pipes, building materials or household goods, this freight can spill, leak or fall off the vehicle if not adequately restrained and immobilized.

Unsecured truck cargo accidents

Imagine driving 70 mph down the 101 only to find a giant metal beam or mattress lying in the middle of the freeway. Incidents like these are exceedingly common and a recipe for disaster. According to a study by the AAA, dangerous road debris was the cause of more than 200,000 accidents and 500 traffic deaths from 2011 and 2014.  Though national statistics aren’t available, it is reasonable to assume that a large portion of these crashes involved 18-wheelers and tractor trailers that failed to tie down their cargo.

Cargo securement devices can include tiedowns, synthetic webbing, wire ropes, binders, winches, shackles and steel strapping. According to the North American Cargo Securement Standard, all drivers of commercial motor vehicles must ensure that their freight is evenly distributed and effectively secured. Cargo cannot shift while the vehicle is in transit and must be fully restrained against horizontal movement.

Many unsecured freight load accidents happen at high speeds, posing even more danger. Large, heavy materials can act as deadly projectiles as they fly off the trucks and into following vehicles.

Proving liability

Sadly, many of these accidents are entirely preventable, if trucking companies and their drivers followed standard cargo securement regulations. Trucking is a multi-billion dollar industry plagued by tight deadlines, grueling schedules and a high turnover rate.

Those who are seriously harmed in a crash caused by unsecured truck cargo would likely think the truck driver is wholly liable, but other parties may have played a role as well:

  • The trucking company may be on the hook for the actions of wrongdoing of their employees if they failed to adhere to load securement guidelines
  • The truck driver may be held accountable if they were negligent in their duty to inspect and ensure securing devices were in good working order and the cargo was properly restrained
  • Third party contractors – trucking companies may outsource the work to third party companies that are hired to load and tie down large cargo

Recover the damages you deserve

Although truck accidents are common in California, crashes involving unsecured truck cargo require detailed investigations to establish at-fault parties and secure the compensation that victims deserve.

Some of the possible scenarios that could yield a viable claim for damages:

  • Trailer doors are not locked
  • Cargo is unbalanced due to shoddy loading
  • Missing or defective restraining devices
  • Failure to properly secure cargo
  • Lack of routine maintenance

Call the Ellis Law Firm for a complimentary consultation with truck accident lawyers Los Angeles residents have come to respect. For over 25 years, our award-winning law firm has been protecting the rights of injury victims throughout California. We can be reached 24/7 by dialing 1-800-INJURED.

Additional Resources on Unsecured Cargo Road Accidents:

  1. FMCSA, Cargo Securement Rules https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/cargo-securement/cargo-securement-rules
  2. CBS News, AAA Report Shows Dangers Of Debris On The Roads http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2016/08/11/aaa-debris-dangers-study/
  3. AAA Foundation, Motor Vehicle Crashes Involving Road Debris, United States, 2011-2014 https://aaafoundation.org/prevalence-motor-vehicle-crashes-involving-road-debris-united-states-2011-2014/