What if I’ve Been Injured by Cargo That Came Off a Large Truck?
Part 7 in an 8-Part Summary of Trucking Regulations…
FMCSA Reg. re cargo securement
Trucks carry cargo, and unfortunately there are times when that cargo is not properly secured and therefore becomes a danger to others on the road. A common type of accident involving trucks is when improperly secured cargo comes off the truck causing damage to another vehicle directly, or causing the other vehicle to then to have an accident because of cargo in the road.
In 2002 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration revamped its cargo securing guidelines to raise industry safety standards to exemplify the best safety practices, as
evidenced by a series of extensive studies into the subject conducted by both the U.S. and Canadian governments, and several private groups.
In its most essential form these revamped regulations dictate that the driver of a commercial motor vehicle must properly load and secure his cargo and periodically inspect it to ensure its continued safe storage. The general rule reads:
“Cargo must be firmly immobilized or secured on or within a vehicle by structures of adequate strength, dunnage (loose materials used to support and protect cargo) or dunnage bags (inflatable bags intended to fill space between articles of cargo or between cargo and the wall of the vehicle), shoring bars, tiedowns or a combination of these.”
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Regulation 393 lays out the procedures that must be complied with to meet this securing standard. Regulation 393 is a detailed and extensive provision delving into the specific safety measures to properly secure a variety of industrial standard cargos, such as logs, metal coils, loose boulders, etc.
The driver must also ensure that in the process of loading the cargo he or she does not in some way impair the safety of the vehicle. This could occur through a variety of circumstances, such as the cargo obscuring the driver’s visions, restricting his freedom of movement, restricting his access to emergency supplies, or blocking the driver’s safe exit from the vehicle.
After the initial loading and storage, the driver is under a duty to inspect the cargo within the first 50 miles of transport to ensure that the initial securing methods were sufficient to create a safe storage environment. The driver must continue to monitor and maintain that safe storage environment at prescribed intervals; either when the driver makes a duty change, the vehicle has been driven for more that 3 hours, or the vehicle has been driven for more than 150 miles, whichever comes first.
As mentioned above, many truck accidents have their origin in the chaos that improperly secured cargo can cause when unleashed into a highway environment. Litigation can often hinge on whether or not evidence can be found that a driver’s actions deviated from the practices set forth in the federal regulations. Therefore, it is important that attorneys are employed who understand and can conduct discovery related to these regulations to gather all proper evidence in such cases.
Read Part 8 of Trucking Regulations…
– Back to Part 6 –
Starr Austen and Miller, specialized truck accident lawyers in Indiana, focus on representing individuals and their family members in serious personal injury and wrongful death cases, such as those often involved in Indiana truck accidents. If you or a loved one have been in a truck accident you can contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case.