Negligent Loading of Trucks

Loading and unloading semi-trucks is a dangerous undertaking. Truck drivers who haul cargo for a living are often required to take an active role in the loading procedure and ensure goods are secured properly. However, when people get in a hurry or become distracted, work may not be done the way it should be. As motorists, we can't see what's in a semi-trailer. Likewise, flatbed trucks are often covered by tarps, which hide the load underneath. We have to depend on the professionals to do their jobs right and minimize safety risks for everyone on the road.

Truck Loading Laws

Specific laws administered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulate truck loading and unloading. The goal of these laws is to reduce the number of accidents due to shifting cargo or falling debris from commercial vehicles. These regulations include:

  • Cargo must be firmly secured on or within a vehicle by structures equipped to hold it, including dunnage (materials 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
  • There are minimum requirements for tiedown restraints
  • Vehicles carrying items such as heavy machinery, steel or concrete beams, crane booms, and other objects require special restraining systems
  • There are commodity-specific securement requirements for materials such as logs, metal coils, concrete pipe, heavy vehicles, and automobiles

In addition to these regulations, a truck carrying a load that extends beyond its width or projects beyond the rear of the vehicle by more than four (4) inches must attach various colored lights to the load to indicate the overhanging objects to other drivers. In addition, it may be required to have an escort to alert drivers of the oversized load.

Consequences of Negligently Loaded Trucks

Cargo that is not loaded according to regulations and generally accepted safety protocol can cause a serious semi-truck accident in a number of ways. The cargo could add so much weight to an already oversized truck that it causes top-heaviness, thus increasing the risk of a jackknife or rollover. Improperly loaded cargo can also shift while in motion. In such cases, objects on the truck may be more likely to fall off, leaving dangerous debris on the roadway.

Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney in Atlanta

If you or a loved has been involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer and suspect improper loading or other negligence, the legal team at Katz Wright Fleming Dodson & Mildenhall LLC in Atlanta can help you recover compensation for your injuries and damages. Contact us online or call (404) 460-0101. We represent clients throughout the Southeast U.S. and Georgia, including Marietta, Macon, Decatur, Rome, and Columbus.

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