Big rigs are the largest, heaviest motor vehicles on the roads and highways. Due to these two factors, they are also the most dangerous. Since these machines are slower and harder to maneuver than traditional passenger vehicles, they pose quite a bit of risk to the general public. This is especially the case if the truck drivers and trucking companies fail to uphold the obligations they have to abide by the specific safety standards that are designed to prevent truck accidents and keep other drivers safe.
While there are countless risks presented by commercial trucks, issues that involve the cargo are some of the most severe. These issues are found here.
Trucks that are Overloaded
If a truck is overloaded, it can make the vehicle more sluggish, hard to drive and slower to respond quickly to emergency situations. If a truck exceeds the weight limits that have been established, it also leads to increase tire wear, which can result in blowouts, jack-knifing and rollovers. These trucks also present a danger to particular types of infrastructure, such as aging bridges and older roads. Based on the kind of truck, such as one that doesn’t completely enclose the cargo, overloading also presents the risk that something may fall off the truck and strike other vehicles on the road.
Improperly Loaded Trucks
Another issue is if cargo is not properly loaded. This creates a number of issues for other drivers on the road. Some risks may include improperly or unsecured cargo that falls or shifts from its proper place on the tractor trailer. This may result in hazards on the roads, in addition to improper weight distribution, which may cause the truck to jack-knife if the truck goes out of control or tip over. Trucks that carry, but improperly load, hazardous materials also pose risks on the road, but also potentially expose other drivers, communities, and pedestrians to toxic substances.
Since improperly loaded and overloaded trucks create significant risks for causing wrecks, severe injuries and even fatalities, there are a number of federal and state laws in place that govern truck cargo. Several of these laws have been established by the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration), which is a division of the Department of Transportation that focuses only on regulating commercial trucks, drivers and trucking companies that engage in any type of interstate travel.
Regulations from the FMSCA
There are several regulations for trucks that have been set by the FMSCA, which are related to:
- Proper cargo securement
- Weight limits
- Hazardous materials
Unfortunately, many truck drivers and companies don’t abide by these regulations. As a result, serious truck accidents still occur all the time. If you are involved in an accident with a commercial truck and suffer an injury or lose a loved one, then you may be able to recover compensation. It is best to contact a personal injury attorney to learn what your options are.