Truck accidents can cause serious or fatal injuries to Phoenix motorists. Truck drivers and trucking companies have many obligations in order to try to avoid causing crashes. Among those obligations is a requirement to ensure cargo is loaded safely and securely.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has a 13-chapter driver's manual devoted to safely loading and securing cargo. The manual is long because there are so many things that could go wrong that truckers and trucking companies need to be aware of and try to prevent.
Unfortunately, even with rules and detailed recommendations in place, cargo sometimes gets loaded in ways that create an enhanced crash risk. Both truck drivers and others on the road are in danger of suffering life-altering or fatal injuries when cargo problems happen.
Cargo problems can enhance the risk of accidents and serious injuries in many different ways. Five of the key reasons why a problem with truck cargo can be so dangerous include the following:
- The cargo could shift and cause the driver to lose control: If cargo isn't secured right, it could move from one side of the vehicle to the other. The driver could lose control due to the sudden shift in the center of gravity. Problems with cargo moving around can also exist when a driver is transporting liquids and the liquid sloshes around.
- The cargo could be too top-heavy and cause the truck to roll over: The Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine indicates that cargo problems are especially likely to cause roll-over truck accidents. Trucks are already top-heavy and more prone to rolling than other cars. If cargo is secured up too high or if cargo moves around to make the truck even more top-heavy, the risk of a rollover crash becomes even greater.
- The cargo could be too heavy, in general, and cause a tire blow: Cargo that is too heavy could result in a number of problems, including the risk of a tire blowout. The law establishes maximum weight limits for most trucks, and drivers should not exceed an 80,000 pound limit.
- The cargo could be hazardous and dangerous toxins could be released: Sometimes, truckers transport hazardous cargo. Unfortunately, if proper precautions are not taken, the high-risk toxins could leak. The trucker and others could become seriously hurt. The potential for grave loss when toxic cargo is being carried have resulted in higher insurance requirements for trucks transporting HAZMAT cargo.
- The cargo could make it take longer for the truck to stop: If cargo makes the truck heavier, the stopping distance will be longer. This means the truck is less likely to stop if it encounters, say, something or someone in the road.
When a truck crash happens, it becomes important to know who was at fault for the crash and why the collision occurred. If a cargo problem was to blame, you should be to obtain compensation from the trucker who was negligent in loading the vehicle. You can also make a case against the trucking company both for its own carelessness and for the negligence of its staff.