Whenever freight is transported by commercial trucks, it needs to be secured properly and in accordance with certain regulations. To reduce accident rates and regulate motor carrier safety, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets and enforces various cargo safety regulations. Unsafe cargo securement can endanger road users nearby, resulting in serious accidents and injuries.
Unsecured Loads Can Cause a Wide Variety of Accidents
Unsecured cargo accidents comprise a large percentage of vehicle-related road debris traffic accidents. While driving on the road, you have most likely encountered furniture, wood, and other large materials or supplies scattered on the side of the road. There’s a high likelihood that the debris on the road is truck cargo that has been improperly stored and has fallen off.
Almost anything can fall off a truck, including raw materials, household items, and even vehicle parts, and cause significant damage to other vehicles. But not every accident is the same.
Vehicles usually collide with falling objects, stationary objects, or other vehicles. Since the driver is trying to maneuver to avoid falling cargo, there is a good chance of hitting another vehicle.
Cargo load characteristics have a large impact on the criticality of an accident. For instance, a truck transporting improperly secured gasoline or other explosive, or flammable liquids pose a significant fire hazard. Oversized loads of lumber or vehicles transported by truck are a serious safety concern due to their weight.
Federal and State Regulations for Cargo Loads
Texas Transportation Code section 725.001 deems failure to secure a load a misdemeanor offense. The code stipulates that cargo or other load materials should not fall or blow onto roads, and no substance capable of blowing or spilling (dirt, gravel, and so on) should be shipped except in an enclosed trailer, covered by a canvas or tarp. The Texas law also applies to all motorists, and a maximum fine of $500 is imposed for violating the statute.
Specific rules govern cargo security, which are set forth by the FMCSA. The rules require the use of cargo security systems capable of withstanding minimal forces. Special requirements are outlined for heavy machinery and hazardous materials. Securement systems must be tailored appropriately for the cargo’s weight, height, shape, and matter.
What Causes Unsecured Cargo Truck Accidents?
An unsecured load may be caused by improper tie-downs or inadequate balancing of the cargo. Loads may also become unsecured due to shifting during transit or wear and tear of the securement equipment.
For this reason, truckers should routinely check the cargo’s security. This step is crucial, and failure to do so may constitute negligence by the truck driver whose poorly loaded cargo led to the accident.
The cause of cargo-related accidents or damages is typically assigned to third-party negligence, establishing liability in a potential personal injury lawsuit for victims. In the course of your case, your truck accident attorney will attempt to prove that the defendant failed to take reasonable steps to store and secure the truck’s cargo.
Who Is Liable for a Truck Accident Caused by Unsecured Cargo in Texas?
Multiple people may be held liable when unsecured cargo on a truck results in a crash. All parties who oversee truck loads or come in contact with the cargo, including truck drivers, loading crews, and trucking companies, may be liable for damages. For instance, an employer who fails to provide its drivers with sufficient training on fastening cargo properly may be held accountable. Moreover, cargo suppliers may be responsible for any defects or dangers in the cargo. Although it is the truck driver’s duty to inspect the cargo regularly to ensure it is well secured, those who loaded the cargo could still be held liable, even if an accident occurs after the driver starts their route.
Contact a Texas Truck Accident Caused by Unsecured Cargo Lawyer
If you or a loved one has recently been involved in a truck accident, you may be facing a seemilngly insurmountable pile of bills, pain, and grief. While a lawyer can’t take away your pain and suffering, a Texas truck accident lawyer will be able to alleviate your stress and deal with the insurance companies while you tend to your more important needs. When in need of representation you can trust, don’t hesitate to contact Amaro Law Firm by calling (713) 352-7975, or by filing out the free case evaluation form located on this page.