Commercial trucking accidents are a prevalent issue which often coincide with serious and fatal consequences due to the weight and size of trucks, but also due to the potential for hazardous or flammable material to be carried by a commercial truck. However, some truck accidents are caused not by the materials being transported, but due to negligent cargo loading.
Risks Behind Cargo Loading
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there are numerous reasons why crashes occur involving commercial trucks, but most accidents are traced to driver negligence.1 However, there are several other individuals who are important to the trucking industry which may be held liable for an accident including the company that brokered the freight, the owner of the truck, the driver’s employer, maintence and repair companies, or the manufacturer of the truck. A specific area of negligence that creates a risk for an accident develops during the loading of cargo; two large risks during the loading process includes overloading or not securing cargo properly.
Missouri Revised Statute section 304.180 regulates the weight-axle load by limiting weight to twenty thousand pounds on any single axle and combined weights not exceeding standards set by vehicle manufacturer’s rating system. There are numerous federal and state regulations on weight limits, because when the regulations are not adhered to and overloading occurs, a commercial truck can become a very dangerous obstacle as it interacts with other vehicles or pedestrians. The reasons for weight limits is due to the fact that an overloaded truck can increase the difficulty of braking, may cause an axle to malfunction, increased risk for jackknifing or coupling failure, and generally diminishes the ability to control the speed, direction, and handling of a truck. For instance, an overloaded truck can cause a need for an increased braking distance, but added pressure on tires that run hot due to the added weight can cause tire failure and the eventual loss of control.2 This is why negligent cargo loading that is done in excess of a truck or axle’s weight limits may lead to an accident.
Besides overloading, another significant problem is unsecured cargo. When cargo is unsecured in a commercial truck it allows for the cargo to shift or move during curves, turns, lane changes, or braking.3 The sudden disproportionate placement of weight in the trailer can cause balancing problems that subsequently may cause a truck to jackknife, swerve into nearby lanes, tip over on its side, or drive off the roadway into ditches or roadside areas.
Contact an Experienced St. Louis Personal Injury Attorney for a Free Consultation
A commercial truck accident that is caused by negligent cargo loading may be a complex matter, because there are often several different individuals who may be responsible for the cargo. However, to make determinations of liable parties, in the event that you have been involved in a trucking accident caused by negligent cargo loading, it is important to discuss the circumstances of your injury with an experienced auto accident attorney who can help to protect your legal rights and interests. To contact a personal injury attorney for a free consultation please feel free to call the The Bruning Law Firm trial attorneys at 314-735-8100.