When it comes to Florida truck accidents and improperly secured cargo, there are laws set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulating the proper way to secure loads. As such these Cargo Securement Rules by the FMCSA have been adapted based on the North American Cargo Securement Standard Model Regulations and have been in place since January of 2004. All of these rules have been carefully designed based off of a multi-year research program that evaluated cargo securement in both the United States and Canada. Every year, hundreds of commercial truck accidents are caused when cargo is improperly loaded or secured. When these federal regulations are violated, there is a serious risk of a trucking accident .
Furthermore, the rules necessitate that all devices used to secure cargo trucks must be functional enough to meet the performance standards set by the agency. The cargo securement rules need drivers and loaders to make sure that truck loads are tied down using a number of items, including: webbing, steel straps, and other devices. Tiedowns must be secure enough, so that they can prevent the cargo from becoming loose and flying off. When cargo is loaded on a truck, it must be perfectly secured with materials to support it or by using inflatable bags to fill up space between the load. These regulations are expected to be understood as every trucker should be instructed by their employer on proper loading techniques and, should be required to have a thorough understanding of the FMCSA guide. Additionally, when it comes to liability, not only is the trucker responsible for the proper loading techniques associated with a safe ride, but also, any other person who has helped load up the vehicle. Both the loader(s) and the truck driver share the responsibility and both may be found accountable in a case that claims improper loading .
FMCSA Loading Laws
These are some laws that mandate the proper way to secure items within the cargo load. These laws include:
- Cargo must be firmly secured on or within a vehicle by structures equipped to hold it, including dunnage (material used for cargo protection) or dunnage bags (inflatable bags used to fill space and prevent cargo shift); tiedowns; and shoring bars
- Cargo that is likely to roll must be restrained by wedges, chocks, or cradles
- Minimum requirements for tiedown restraints
- Special Purpose Vehicle requirements (vehicles carrying items such as heavy machinery, steel or concrete beans, crane booms, and other objects that require special restraining systems)
- Commodity-specific Securement Requirements (such as logs, metal coils, concrete pipe, heavy vehicles and automobiles.
- If a load extends beyond its width or projects beyond the rear of the vehicle by more than four inches, there must be various colored lights to the load to indicate the overhanging to other drivers .
In addition, there are multiple ways to identify when a truck is improperly loaded. Several include, cargo that is not properly covered, weight that is not distributed throughout the trailer, overweighed or loaded trucks, the amount of tiedowns compared to the load involved, etc. Violating these laws listed leads to accidents that can be fatal to truckers and other drivers sharing the road.
Accidents Due to Improper Loading
When a load is not properly placed on the tractor-trailer, there is a risk of shift. This throws off the balance while the truck is in operation, eventually causing the truck to tip over or even jackknife. These accidents are even more dangerous when the truck is carrying liquids. An improperly loaded liquid on a truck can easily move, causing a shift in balance and possible loss of control for the driver. If a liquid is flammable or involves a chemical, than an accident may even involve a HAZMAT situation. Moreover, when the cargo is overloaded on a truck, the truck may again jackknife, rollover or the driver may lose control, especially when navigating turns. Another consequence of improper loading may also involve loose cargo falling on vehicles around the truck . This unsecured cargo can cause catastrophic events for another driver where the trucker and/or loader will bear the responsibility of another life.
It’s important to remember that 49 C.F.R. Sec 392.9 (Code of Federal Regulations) creates a non-delegable duty on all parties who participated in the loading of the truck. The driver is responsible for inspecting the load before going on a logged trip; thereafter, whoever helps with inspection may also be held liable.
Florida Truck Accident Attorney
To protect your interests, it is imperative to consult with an experienced truck accident lawyer. After a truck accident, there are a number of steps that must be taken in order to protect your rights and to preserve your case. This is where we step in. The lawyers at Dolman Law Group will know how to preserve the evidence by inspecting the truck or at a minimum, placing the necessary pities on notice of our desire to inspect their vehicles and equipment. Truck companies can be a hassle to deal with, knowing fair well that their drivers are literally carrying a large risk when sharing the road with others. At the Dolman Law Group, we will be there for you to help you get the compensation you deserve. Please call us today at (727) 451-6900.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765