One common cause of accidents involving tractor trailers and other commercial vehicles is cargo falling into the roadway from the vehicle’s bed or trailer. Proper securement of cargo is crucial to the safe operation of a heavy truck. When loads shift or spill, the results are often deadly.
The trucking industry is governed by many rules and regulations, including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. These rules specify, with great detail, the manner in which loads must be secured and the frequency with which the load must be checked to verify that the load has not become loose. Depending on the size, shape and quantity of goods being carried, a variety of specialized equipment is required to secure any given load, such as cradles, special straps, tie downs, shoring bars, etc.
A properly secured load should never spill and when it happens, it is almost invariably due to the fact that the load was not properly secured to begin with, that the driver failed to perform a standard check of the load, or because the securing equipment was in poor condition.
Because of the extreme hazards which can be presented by transporting cargo, the driver of a heavy truck is required to know the rules governing load securement every bit as well as the people who load the vehicle in the first place. Regulations mandate that drivers perform a safety check of their trucks before embarking on a trip. This includes checking the cargo. Additionally, once on the road, the regulations require the driver to perform further checks to insure the load remains properly placed and secured and has not worked loose or otherwise shifted. Given these rules, when a truck spills its load, the responsibility for the accidents typically rests with BOTH the individuals who loaded the truck as well as with the truck’s operator.