One common cause of trucking accidents is an improperly loaded truck. The loading of a passenger car can have some impact on safety of the people inside the vehicle, but usually does not impact people in other vehicles. However, when a truck is improperly loaded, it causes a far greater risk to other motorists than to the truck driver. Improper loading results in suits brought against shipping companies by St. Louis trucking accident lawyers throughout the U.S. With a legal weight limit of 80 tons – and the potential to acquire an oversize load permit to carry even more – commercial trucks transport far heavier loads than other vehicles. How the load is packed on the truck – whether the weight is high or low, far forward or far back – as well as the size of the load both impact a driver’s ability to maneuver the vehicle.
The federal government stipulates very specific regulations on the size and weight of commercial truck loads. Safety experts suggest that even these regulations allow for loads that are too large and too heavy to be safely transported. To operate a fully-loaded commercial vehicle safely, a driver must be very experienced in the safe handling of their vehicle and must be careful not to take any risks. Additionally, trucks that travel empty of cargo pose a risk for accidents too. If a truck is pulling an empty trailer, it will not brake in a reliable manner and may slide or skid out of control. Trucks whose loads are too high may cause accidents by going through a low underpass.Wide loads increase the risk of a truck having a side-collision with another car or truck because the load does not fit in a single lane. Furthermore, any St. Louis trucking accident lawyer could tell you that even trucks that meet all the weight and size limits, and that are operated with the additional care needed for to transport an 80-ton load safely, may cause accidents related to how their load is distributed and secured.
Unfortunately, ill-secured loads do result in accidents on a regular basis. Loose loads can shift during transport, affecting the truck’s balance, causing it to tip over, or even falling off a truck while it’s moving on the road. If a load is not properly secured, or does not meet load securement regulations for the types of securement devices used, the trucking company is putting other motorists at risk. An unsecured load is especially dangerous when weather, traffic or other road conditions occur and a driver fails to compensate in their driving.
As a measure to prevent accidents related to trucks that are improperly loaded, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires that loads be secured prior to operating the vehicle. Regulation number 392.9 on safe loading states that, “No one may drive or require anyone to drive a commercial motor vehicle unless the cargo is properly distributed and adequately secured.” St. Louis trucking accident lawyers invoke these federal regulations in cases of truck accidents in which the load is suspect. If they are able to collect evidence proving the load was not properly secured, they will have a strong case. Many traffic safety advocates suggest these restrictions are weak and fail to protect the driving public. The trucking lobby is strong in Washington, and there is little hope for lowering the permitted weight limits in the near future, despite the risk heavily-loaded trucks pose to motorists.