Types of Cargo Carried by Large Trucks
Injured in a Truck Accident Caused by Overloaded Cargo?
Large commercial trucks are one of the primary means of transporting heavy cargo. They move millions of tons of hazardous materials, chemicals, and heavy equipment across U.S. highways every day. These materials include fuels to power our cars, machinery to run factories, and hazardous chemicals of all types and uses.
Because of the sheer weight of the cargo and its impact on the truck's maneuverability, there are several key safety regulations that must be followed to ensure the vehicles are loaded properly. These must be followed by the driver and the loading dock workers responsible for loading the cargo. While most trucking companies strive to transport their valuable products safely, drivers can often run into issues of human error, causing serious accidents that are only aggravated by the dangerous type or amount of cargo they are carrying. When accidents are caused by overloaded or poorly loaded cargo, companies, drivers, or other parties may be held responsible.
Common Hazards Involving Truck Cargo
Trucks are designed with a specific maximum weight amount they can safely transport. Sometimes, in effort to move more cargo in a single trip, trucks will be loaded with more cargo than they are designed to carry. Overloading a truck can cause an accident for a variety of reasons. Longer stopping distances can lead to rear-end collisions. Too much weight on the tires can cause a blowout. Too much stress on the mechanical components can lead to a breakdown. Increased speed while traveling downhill and decreased speed while traveling uphill can put other motorists at risk.
Improperly Secured Cargo
Failing to properly secure or load the cargo into the trailer presents several dangers. Shifting cargo can cause the truck to jackknife or rollover when making sharp turns. Shifting cargo can also make the truck more difficult to steer and maneuver. Finally, improperly loaded cargo is more likely to break free of the trailer and spill on the road.
The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that 7% of all trucks carry hazardous materials. Hazardous materials should be properly secured in the truck. The motor carrier is responsible for bracing such materials securely for shipment.
Hazardous materials include the following:
- Flammable gases and liquids
- Combustible solids
- Radioactive materials
Large machinery and equipment are often transported on a flatbed truck. It is absolutely crucial that such large cargo is properly secured. If the equipment shifts or comes untied, it can cause a tractor-trailer to turn over and endanger other motorists. Up to 1,000 fatalities occur each year involving flatbed trucks.
Multi-car trailers are open, double deck trailers than can haul as many as 12 vehicles at once. These large trucks have limited maneuverability and can be involved in accidents if vehicles around them make unexpected turns or stop suddenly. Their cargo is extremely heavy and bulky, making it difficult for them to brake, turn, or adjust in order to avoid collision.
Flammable Liquids & Gases
Cargo tank trucks ("tanker trucks") transport flammable liquids and compressed gases. Due to the danger involved, there are strict regulations concerning the transport of hazardous materials, with some drivers forbidden from leaving cargo unattended.
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Arnold & Itkin is prepared to stand up to trucking companies to secure a fair settlement that recognizes the severity of your injuries and the disruption to your family. We have extensive experience handling commercial motor vehicle accidents, and we’ve won billions in verdicts and settlements in the last 5 years. Our truck accident attorneys are committed to helping people who have been seriously injured due to cargo issues, drowsy driving, and any other acts of negligence.
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