Loose Cargo and Truck AccidentsJuly 25, 2018
In Minnesota, in early July, a mother and daughter were killed when a boulder, weighing several hundreds of pounds, fell off a truck in front of them and collided with their car. It took several firemen to roll the boulder away from the accident scene.
This recent accident highlighted the potential for serious and fatal accidents when exposed cargo becomes loose.
If you are one of those drivers who goes out of your way to avoid driving in the path of a truck carrying exposed cargo, you may have good reason to be concerned. A 2015 federal study estimates as many as 400 deaths across the United States are the result of unsecured loads – not only from commercial trucks, but smaller pick-up trucks and other passenger vehicles as well.
There are things you can do to ensure your own cargo is safe and to avoid being injured in a lost load accident.
Transporting Cargo Safely
For commercial truck drivers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recommends adhering to guidelines put forth in the Driver’s Handbook on Cargo Securement. The 141-page manual lists best-practices to safely secure loads based on the type of vehicle and cargo involved.
The manual offers instructions and procedures to ensure every cargo securement system can effectively withstand a minimum amount of force moving against it from all directions. The guidelines included in the manual are considered the industry standard, though certain state and local regulations may vary slightly.
Drivers should always:
- Make sure cargo is properly distributed and well-secured.
- Make sure all security equipment is in good working order and used as designed.
- Make sure cargo does not obstruct the driver’s view or interfere with his/her ability to react in an emergency.
- Inspect securing devices frequently and adjust or add more as needed.
Avoiding Lost Load Accidents
If you are approaching a truck with a visible cargo, you can take precautions to stay out of harm’s way. Follow at least three seconds behind the truck in front of you and look for a safe direction to potentially swerve out of the path of loose cargo. Should you need to pull over, stay calm and do so slowly, in a controlled manner.
Accidents involving commercial trucks can have devastating consequences. The sheer weight and power of tractor trailers increases the chances of serious and fatal injuries.
When a truck accident involves a lost load, who is to blame? If the truck company did not load and secure the cargo, third-party liability may be a factor. Yet the insurance company may be quick to blame the operator for improperly securing cargo.
Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman and Hamilton Represent Maryland Truck Accident Victims
Because these types of accidents are complex, it is smart to enlist a Baltimore truck accident lawyer with extensive experience advocating for victims of commercial truck accidents. At LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton our team of lawyers specializes in resolving complicated truck accident cases with the best possible outcome for our clients.
Choose an attorney who knows state and federal trucking laws and is best equipped to fight for your rights. To discuss your situation and possible compensation for your injuries, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent truck accident victims throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.