Improper cargo distribution is one of the leading causes of semi-truck accidents. Despite the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations and best practices, poor load distribution continues to cause fatal and injurious accidents every year. Simple solutions can help fix the problem, however.
How Does Poor Load Distribution Cause Accidents?
Poor truck-load distribution endangers drivers and other motorists. Weight distribution isn’t as important when an average-sized vehicle is carrying light cargo. Since semi-trucks can carry more than 34,000 pounds, however, improperly loaded cargo can be deadly.
Improperly loaded cargo falling from the back of an open truck bed is one reason crashes occur. It’s equally important to load a closed-bed truck correctly, however. Unbalanced loads can create hazards like poor steering control, rollovers, extra strain on suspension, tires, and wheel bearings, and increased brake sensitivity.
It is harder to steer a semi-truck with too much weight in the trailer’s rear. Drivers have compared it to driving on ice. Too much weight loaded toward the front can cause the trailer to swing dangerously into other traffic lanes.
Determining the Cause of a Truck Accident
The police are a valuable resource for investigating the cause of a truck accident. Their investigation of the truck’s black box (as well as the truck and trailer) can determine whether improper loading contributed to the crash.
In a truck accident, filing the most accurate and thorough police report possible can also help determine the cause of the crash. Including details about whether the truck swerving or veering between lanes before the crash occurred can help investigators identify contributing factors.
Sometimes, however, an accident attorney is an injured driver’s best resource in proving a truck accident was caused by improper loading. Experienced trucking accident attorneys often uncover details others miss.
FMCSA Regulations Regarding Cargo Distribution
The FMCSA aims to reduce motor vehicle accidents every year, but it only takes one negligent driver or warehouse worker to cause a crash.
Cargo securement regulations are designed to prevent items from shifting or falling during transport. Rules semi-trucks must follow include:
- Tie-downs and other cargo securement systems must be in good condition, with no weak or damaged parts.
- Securement systems must hold items in place with rapid acceleration, deceleration as well as lateral movements.
- All tie-downs must be attached and secured in a way that they will not loosen, release, or open.
Who Is Responsible For a Cargo-Related Truck Accident?
Trucking companies are not the only parties that can be held liable for crash injuries. Everyone involved in the trucking process could be partially liable in a cargo-related accident. Legal cases regarding truck accidents often have multiple defendants.
Truck loaders are required to follow federal and state regulations. Inspectors are required to ensure that these regulations are followed. Truckers have a duty to drive safely and be mindful of road conditions. Failing in any one of these responsibilities can result in a trucking accident.
The right truck accident attorney and investigation team can mean the difference between recovering compensation from all parties who contributed to the crash or walking away empty-handed.