Load Shifting & Unsecured Cargo

Unsecured Cargo and Load Shift on a Semi Truck Can Cause Devastation

Unsecured cargo causes many truck accidents on the nation’s highways and interstates including those in Missouri and Illinois.  Trucking lawyers in Missouri know that loads can become unstable and shift during transit.  When load shift on a semi truck occurs, the truck or trailer can become unstable, resulting in a jackknife or truck rollover accident. When goods are transported on a flatbed trailer, they can fall into traffic lanes if they are improperly secured.

Three semi-trucks driving on a highway at excessive speeds on the highway

Truck accident lawyers know that commercial vehicles are required to meet certain standards so that cargo does not become loose during transit.  Cargo within a trailer must be restrained or secured by items that are of the proper strength such as proper dunnage, shoring bars, or tiedowns.  The cargo or goods must be placed next to additional cargo in a manner that it does not shift together causing instability.

When goods are transported by flatbed, the securement devices should be in proper working order and should not be damaged to the point they are weakened.  The structures or anchor points to which the securement devices should be in sufficient condition to perform appropriately.  Additionally, the load limit of each securement system part should be sufficient.

What Regulations Govern Cargo Securement?

When tiedowns are used, they must be properly attached so that they do not come loose and allow goods to fall onto the highway or other vehicles. Properly attached tiedowns should not become loose, unfastened, or open while a truck is in operation.  Part 393.110 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations sets forth how many tiedowns need to be used for certain goods that are transported.  Part 393.104(e) contains a table that sets forth the standards for securing items including steel strapping, chains, webbing, wire rope and cordage.

In addition to general rules governing cargo securement, the federal government has specifically identified certain goods that are at risk of coming loose in transit, resulting in load shift on semi trucks.  As a result, truck drivers must be familiar with specific regulations that apply to these goods; logs Part 393.116; Part 393.118: lumber and building products; Part 393.120: metal coils; Part 393.122: paper rolls; Part 393.124: concrete pipes; Part 393.128: automobiles, light trucks and vans; Part 393.130: heavy vehicles, equipment and machinery; and 393.136: large boulders.

Do Truck Drivers Have to Inspect Cargo?

Do Drivers Have to Inspect Cargo?

Part 392.9 of the DOT regulations sets forth how drivers are to inspect cargo.  Drivers must generally do the following:

  1. Assure himself/herself that the cargo is properly distributed and adequately secured
  2. Assure himself/herself that the tailgate, tailboard, doors, spare and other fastening equipment are secured
  3. Inspect the cargo and the devices used to secure the cargo within the first 50 miles after beginning a trip and cause any adjustments to be made to the cargo or load securement devices as necessary, including adding more securement devices, to ensure that cargo cannot shift on or within, or fall from the commercial motor vehicle;
  4. Reexamine the commercial motor vehicle’s cargo and its load securement devices during the course of transportation and make any necessary adjustment to the cargo or load securement devices, including adding more securement devices, to ensure that cargo cannot shift on or within, or fall from, the commercial motor vehicle.
  5. Reexamine and make any necessary adjustments must be made whenever—
    1. The driver makes a change of his/her duty status; or
    2. The commercial motor vehicle has been driven for 3 hours; or
    3. The commercial motor vehicle has been driven for 150 miles, whichever occurs first.

However, drivers will not have to do all of the above if the driver of a sealed commercial motor vehicle who has been ordered not to open it to inspect its cargo or to the driver of a commercial motor vehicle that has been loaded in a manner that makes inspection of its cargo impracticable.

Were You Injured in a Truck Accident?

Our truck accident lawyers specialize in earning justice and compensation for the victims of truck accidents — whether load shift on a semi truck or another factor is the cause. If you were seriously injured in a collision, we want to hear about your case.

Contact our attorneys today for a free consultation.

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