Trucks are a familiar a sight on Louisiana roads and fellow drivers are advised to take caution when sharing the roadways with them. While accidents are a danger, one of the more understated issues that can arise with a truck is whether or not the cargo that is being hauled is properly secured. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has certain rules that are in place for a truck company and a truck owner to adhere to make sure that the load is safe. If this is violated and there are injuries or fatalities as a result of a crash, there could be the basis to file a lawsuit to seek compensation.
The rules that the FMSCA has in place are related to cargo except for that which does not have an actual shape or structure such as gases, liquids, grains and other similarly shapeless items. Items that are deemed to be cargo with structure and shape must be immobilized and secured on the vehicle. The devices used to keep the cargo in place must be sufficiently strong, use shoring bars, tie downs, dunnage or dunnage bags. Dunnage refers to an airbag or inflatable type of device. A combination of these can be used.
If the cargo has a propensity to roll, it must be restrained by a cradle, chocks, wedges or the equivalent to stopping a potential roll. That which is in place to prevent rolling must not be at risk to come loose or become unfastened as the vehicle is in motion. With cargo or articles that are next to one another and secured by transverse tie downs, they must be in contact with one another or prevented from shifting towards one another while in transit. There is also a working load limit for the tie downs. It must be a minimum of one-half times the weight of the article or the group of articles.
Unfortunately, it is not unusual for a truck accident to occur because the company or the operator was negligent in making sure that the rules were followed and the cargo was properly secured. When this happens, the sheer size and weight of the truck and its cargo can cause significant damage and even death to others on the road. Contacting a legal professional experienced in seeking compensation after a trucking accident can help in pursuing a case after failing to follow the FMCSA rules.
Source: fmcsa.dot.gov, “393.106: What are the general requirements for securing articles of cargo?,” accessed on July 5, 2016