The Safe Loading of Trucks is Necessary to Prevent Accidents

When passenger car drivers are on the road with large tractor-trailers, they may be intimidated by the size and weight of the commercial motor vehicle, but many do not realize that there is a serious hidden damage within the trailer if the cargo was not loaded and secured properly.

An unbalanced or improperly secured load can lead to extreme difficulties with steering the truck, leading to swerving and an inability to hold a lane while traveling at high speeds. In addition, the shifting of the weight to the rear tires and change in center of gravity may lead to the trailer swinging out to the side of the cab, resulting in a rollover or jackknife accident. These are a couple of the many dangers posed by a trailer that was not loaded safely.

If the load is positioned such that the greater weight is higher up in the trailer, it can lead to a dangerous top-heavy situation that can result in:

  • The truck tipping over when trying to negotiate a curve;
  • A rollover accident when the driver attempts to change lanes at a high rate of speed;
  • Longer stopping distances as the result of imbalanced weight over the brakes; or
  • The truck traveling off the roadway in response to a strong gust of wind.
  • A commercial motor carrier should take the following precautions before sending a loaded trailer out on the road:
  • Train its personnel to utilize the right types of tractor-trailers for each unique cargo, based on the specifications of the vehicle;
  • Educate its drivers in the proper way to inspect sealed trailers in order to confirm that the load satisfies weight, balance, and the requirements for a secured cargo;
  • Properly train its drivers to transport different types of loads;
  • Carefully monitor situations where overloading or improper loading has occurred in order to ensure that the problems are not repeated through the implementation of better training protocols and policies;
  • Perform reviews of the loading and securing of cargo at intermittent periods in order to be certain that drivers and other personnel are in compliance with policies;
  • Create plans of action for managing different types of loads, including mapping routes that avoid potential hazards.

A truck driver also is accountable for ensuring that the cargo is loaded and secured properly before pulling out to start the trip, including:

  • Performing a thorough inspection of the cargo to confirm that it is loaded and secured correctly;
  • Inspecting the tires to be sure that there is no excessive wear and tear and that they are sufficient for the type of load and the anticipated route;
  • Ensuring that the load is within established limits;
  • Confirming that the couplings and suspension are rated sufficient to handle the type of load;
  • Loading the cargo so that the heavier items are on the lower part of the trailer and distributing the weight evenly;
  • Inspecting cargo at several intervals early in the trip in order to confirm that the cargo still is secured;
  • Driving cautiously by slowing during curves and turns, maintaining control of the truck, and staying in the lane of traffic;
  • Avoiding problems like low overpasses, tight tunnel and bridge passages, and road obstructions; and
  • Ascertaining the payload characteristics of a sealed trailer before getting on the road.

Liability for any accident caused by an overloaded trailer rests with the person(s) who loaded the cargo, the truck river, and the trucking company that did not impose the proper training and protocols to prevent this type of hazard.

Peter Thompson & Associates Understands the Relevant Trucking Regulations

When a person has been involved in a serious accident with a commercial truck, it may be difficult to know where the fault lies. The experienced and hardworking truck accident attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates know what the truck driver and trucking company should have done and we will build a strong case to demonstrate any negligence that led to your accident. Call us at 800.804.2004 to set a time to discuss what happened to you.

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