September 28, 2017 · FLEMING | NOLEN | JEZ, L.L.P.
Because commercial trucks pose risks to public safety, the trucking industry is subject to numerous state and federal regulations. Among these safety regulations are those concerning the proper loading and securement of cargo transported by commercial truckers across the country.
As commercial trucks and tractor-trailers are capable of transporting tens of thousands of pounds of goods and cargo, some of which can be hazardous to humans and the environment, proper securement is of the utmost importance. As our personal injury lawyers have seen when handling many truck accident cases across the country, failures to abide by safety rules and negligence in loading and securing cargo can spell disaster. Here are a few reasons why:
- Overloaded trucks – Too much cargo is a prominent risk for truckers and all those around them. When trucking operators fail to abide by weight limits established under federal law, they significantly increase crash risks. This is because too much weight can reduce a truck’s performance, placing strain on tires, brakes, and other vehicle components. Overloaded trucks also reduce a trucker’s ability to maneuver and stop vehicles, which can prove disastrous in collision-critical incidents. Additionally, trucks that exceed weight limits can place strain on roadways, bridges, and other structures, posing the risk of collapse or other roadway hazards.
- Improperly loaded cargo – The federal government establishes a number of rules for the proper loading and securement of cargo, including the types and number of tie downs and securement devices that must be used, especially in relation to certain types of cargo (logs and lumber, concrete, vehicles, produce, etc.) When cargo is negligently loaded and secured, it can shift during transit, which can compromises balance in vehicles and cause wrecks. Unsecured cargo can also fall off of trucks and commercial vehicles, causing vehicle collisions and roadway hazards.
- Hazardous materials – While all cargo can become dangerous when overloaded or improperly secured, hazardous materials pose even greater risks to public safety. Trucks that transport hazardous and flammable materials, therefore, must comply with very strict securement regulations.
When truckers and trucking companies fail to abide by regulations and rules designed to protect the public, they are violating their legal duty to safely operate their vehicles. As such, victims injured in trucking wrecks involving overloaded cargo or improperly secured cargo have a right to seek financial compensation from the at-fault party, which, depending on the circumstances, may be the trucking company itself or a contracted third party responsible for loading trucks.
At Fleming | Nolen | Jez, L.L.P., our truck accident attorneys have an understanding of the numerous regulations turcking companies must abide by, as well as the devastation that can result when they fail to do so. If you have questions regarding your rights after a commercial vehicle accident, we invite you to discuss your case during a FREE consultation with a member of our team. Call (713) 621-7944 to get started.